Saturday, November 20, 2010
Greetings Spark Friends,
My heart is overflowing with thankfulness at God's provision in my family's life.
A few years ago my youngest child, Levi (almost 18 now) came home from a leadership camp that his youth director took him to in NM telling his dad and I that he wanted to go to the Air Force Academy. (We have home schooled our 5 kids since 1983 and him being the tail end, I have to say, I'm tired! ) Our youth director is a grad of the AFA and took the three students he had with him on a tour. Over the years we've watched several friends prepare their kids for a nomination to one of the academies and know it's very labor intensive. I told Levi that he would have to do another year in high school just so we would have enough time to complete everything. He didn't balk at that for a moment. He really had a desire to go. Last summer he went back to the same leadership camp in NM and they once again stopped at the AFA for another tour, this solidified Levi's desire more!
He trained for the physical test with his youth director and me. I know nothing about coaching and I would have him do his test in the order it was to be given with the rest time prescribed and record his results. It looked impossible at first. He was quite slow at running, he could hardly do 4 pullups, not many pushups or situps either. He was very faithful in training and a week ago he said he was going to cal the liaison officer to come and implement the test.
He ran 40 seconds faster than the average cadet from 2009 on his mile run, he did 12 pullups which is one over the average from last year, 60 pushups, average amount, 80 situps, his shuttle was the fastest he had ever done, beating the average slightly but he was short on his ball throw. We are hopeful that won't matter too much!
He is completing his writing sample revisions and will turn them in next week leaving only the military interview in front of a panel of military officers scheduled for December 7th to complete the application.
A few weeks ago I was feeling the heavy weight of this project when Levi told me, "Mom, no matter how this turns out, I'm glad we did it!" That brought tears for me! He understands the value of hard work and trying your best! What a great lesson. I had thought the same things as it has brought us so close!
There have been so many occasions in the last year when I've had to say to him, "you should study for your SAT, you need to call to ask people to write a letter of recommendation, or have you filled out this form? The list is endless with what has had to be done. Levi is my child who used to say, "I don't do homework on the weekends, the weekend is for rest and play!" The kid has hardly had opportunity for any social life for many months with his obligations to school and the ap work! He took the SAT on three occasions to get his scores as high as he possibly could even though twice would have been all he needed to meet the academy guidelines. That was his choice, not mine.
We asked a man at church teach Levi chemistry one on one last year. He is a retired Captain in the Marine Corps and a high school Biology teacher. He was fantastic, tayloring the course to Levi's ability which took him to the college level. He was asked last summer to accompany a team of college students to Malaysia to help our sister church there learn to put on a puppet show on peacemaking for kids. He has been blessed over and over by opportunities we would not have looked for, but they appeared on his doorstep. Levi's siblings all live 1000's of miles away and they have been a constant source of encouragement to him, sending him letters, cards and messages to bolster him!
My husband and I are so proud of our son, and thankful to the Lord for blessing our family!
No matter how it turns out, if he gets the nomination or not, this has been a very great challenge in our lives!!
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Recipe: The best vegetable soup ever, no kidding
Mark Bittman, New York Times columnist and author of "The Food Matters Cookbook"
3/4 cup olive oil, more or less
2 onions, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, peeled and chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch parsley, washed and chopped, thick stems discarded
2 or 3 cabbage leaves, chopped
1 bunch chard, preferably white, washed and chopped
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 to 4 cups cooked white beans, like cannelloni, with their liquid if possible
Put about a third of the olive oil in the bottom of a deep pot and turn the heat to medium.
Add half the onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften, which takes about 10 minutes.
Add about half of the remaining oil and repeat the process, seasoning with salt and pepper as you go.
Add the remaining oil with the parsley, cabbage and chard and cook, stirring occasionally, until everything is softened but not browned.
Add the tomato paste and stir.
Mash the beans so that they're about half mashed and half more-or-less whole. Add this mixture to the pot, along with any bean cooking liquid and enough water to make the whole mixture stewy but not watery.
Continue cooking, tasting and adjusting the seasoning as necessary, until all the vegetables are very tender and the soup is hot. Serve hot or warm.
Makes about 10 servings
Friday, August 06, 2010
Sometimes we are called upon to do difficult things that we think are beyond our abilities. Today was one of those for me. I was asked to eulogize the man I cared for over the past two years. He was my hero and had a huge impact on my life. What complicated the request is that our 5 children are home from all parts of the USA for our oldest son's wedding. The rehearsal dinner is tonight.
We just got home after the service. It was an honor to talk about this man that has taught me so much. It was hard when my emotions took over and I cried but the emotion was genuine and I feel like I honored this amazing man.
So thankful for friends who stepped in to help with the prep work I had planned to do myself for the dinner.
Off to the dinner, to rejoice with my family, glad for a few minutes to sort out my emotions.
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