Wednesday, November 30, 2011


My pictures capture but a few aspects of our peaceful, fun and relaxing Thanksgiving.The day was full of our traditions including the Walk, the feast and the Turkey Bowl. 62 family members (four generations), and 6 dogs joined us to celebrate God's Goodness in providing for all of our needs. 
These pictures are set to the words of "Let all Things Now Living", (text by Katherine Davis, music by Gerald H. Knight)
                                                     Let all things now living
                                                      A song of thanksgiving
                                                         To God our Creator
                                                            triumphantly raise;
                                                Who fashioned and made us,
Protected and stayed us,
                                          By guiding us onto the end of our days.
                                                 God's banners are o'er us,
                                                 Pure light goes before us,
                                        A pillar of light shining forth in the night;
                                                 Till shadows have vanished
                                                   And darkness is banished,
                                          As forward we travel from light into light.
                                                        His law he enforces,
The stars in their courses,
The sun in its orbit obediently shine,
                                                    The hills and the mountains,
                                                     The rivers and fountains,
    The depths of the ocean,
                                                       proclaim God divine.
                                                    We, too, should be voicing
                                                    Our love and rejoicing
                                                      With glad adoration,
                                                        a song let us raise:
                                                     Till all things now living
                                                     Unite in thanksgiving,
                                      To God in the highest, hosanna and praise!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

New Market Battlefield

 We recently enjoyed a beautiful and sunny fall day visiting the New Market Battlefield with our homeschool group.
 This Battle is especially known for the ten cadets from VMI who lost their lives here when the 15-17 year old students were pressed into service to help the Confederacy. The student body (all but the 13 and 14 year olds) marched 85 miles in 4 days to New Market from Lexington, Virginia. Intended to be in reserve, they were  indeed needed and the cadets were given the order to advance by the  commander. One of the commander's  young cousins , a cadet,  was killed first as the line of young soldiers came up to the front line. AS a group, they fought well and helped to win this battle.
Our Tour Guide amazed me as she knew her history and had an absolute gift for handling a "classroom".
 The first thing she did was to form an "army" with only four rules and discipline!
 She lined us up into two rows and just like an army commander told the children how it was going to be!
We were very fortunate to have two Dads join us on this trip. Often, it really helps to have a man along when you are dealing with kids.
 We met for an educational, interactive discussion in front of this memorial stained glass window that helps depict this battle and the role of the VMI cadets who fought here. Our docent immediately had the kids sit on the floor and the adults in the chairs. I liked her even more!

 She went over the uniforms and equipment that our just formed "army" would need. John volunteered to wear this officer's coat.

Then we broke up into teams of  3 kids and one parent on a Scavenger Hunt to find 10 specific items in " The Hall Of Valor" museum which required us to look at and read many of the exhibits to find the item and write in the information. Our guide wisely had the children count off 1-8 to be put into a group that was not made up of their immediate friends. This separated the boys which usually works out well!
The battlefield is located in the southern Shenandoah Valley and the mountain range beside it is impressive.
 The weather was so nice for a late fall day as we headed to the Bushong Farm on which the actual battle raged in May, 1864. Incidentally, the family was at home when the battle occurred but were able to stay in their basement, below the line of fire.
 I was so intrigued with this gal's hair which above all looked neat and pulled together. She had a bun and a braid that went across the top of her head and had the front pulled back with hair combs.
 We got so much more out of this trip because she told us many details of the story and obviously had pride in ownership of the tale of the cadets' courage, honor, and sense of duty.

 The farm has many outbuildings preserved that are open for viewing.
The  Storehouse.
Brick oven. Notice the rounded sides and the roof over top to protect the cook from the elements.
The house was taken over as a field hospital for the wounded of BOTH sides of the fighting. Surgery was performed in the parlor.
The little wooden crib is beside the bed which is covered in mosquito netting.
 There is so much snake rail fencing around this property. One of the kids asked why they built fences in this way. Our guide explained that this kind of fence can be built by one person by himself who can use the downed trees on one's  own land. She said it is "Horse high, bull strong and pig tight." Wow- I never realized that!!!
Blacksmith shop.

We picnicked after our tour on the grounds.
The boys had a chance to throw a football together before we left. This trip was a bargain financially because of the group tour price and had the added benefit of a knowledgeable tour guide who not only loved her subject matter but could also handle a group of children in a very kind, but firm, professional manner.