Thursday, September 29, 2005

Cherry Hill, NJ

Greetings from New Jersey! The last few days we enjoyed the Alliance of Christian Home Education Leadership conference at the Sandy Cove Conference Center near Baltimore, MD. We spent many hours in sessions discussing many issues that homeschool leaders find very practical: conference speakers, conference problems, board structure, charter schools, websites and technology, support group networking, convention planning, publications, and town hall meetings that covered a variety of philosophical issues... then, of course, there were the fun evening sessions full of skits, special music, "state spotlights" and more. Not to be forgotten are the times of prayer and singing, the devotional times, the meal time conversations, and the individual relationships that, despite our differences, are built by a common vision, similar experiences, and unique challenges faced as we walk the road of leadership together. Thanks so much to the ACHEL board for their work to annually arrange and host this conference.

Now, for the next few days, we are at the HSLDA national leadership conference in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. As Dad and Mom are the only ones of us attending the conference, the Erber kiddos will be "hanging out," catching up on lost sleep, doing laundry, and also taking care of some last minute shopping and preparation for next week's Faith & Freedom Tour.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Sea to Shining Sea!

Our travels this summer have brought us to the Pacific coast a couple of times, but this weekend we turn our faces eastward to the very shores of the Atlantic.

First stop is the ACHEL (Alliance of Christian Home Education Leadership) conference near Baltimore, Maryland, on Sunday-Wednesday. Wednesday-Saturday is HSLDA's conference in Philadelphia for homeschool leaders. Lots of great discussions during this week as homeschool leaders share experiences, ideas, successes, warnings, opinions, encouragement and more with one another.

Then, October 3-10, is the Vision Forum Faith & Freedom Tour. As referenced in the recent "Cookies!" post, we are responsible for planning, preparing, and serving lunches to the 160 attendees during the week of the tour. In addition to the wonderful time we have touring the historic sites, learning from knowledgeable historians, and visiting with the other families who attend the tour, the food preparation has always provided us with many fun and unique memories. We are thrilled that this year the N. DeLadurantey and J. Erber families will be joining us on the tour! We'll try to keep you up to date with pictures and reports as we travel along, although during the F&F Tour our schedule will be kind of crazy!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Happy Birthday, Jessica!

Jessica is a very special treasure that God has given our family. She has been a huge blessing to our family in so many ways. Her heart, her smile, her wit, her work. We love her, and appreciate her so very much!

We thought that you would enjoy seeing a few of the many different faces of Jessica.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Even a casual glance at this blog reveals that our family has been blessed with many friendships with people across the country. Relationships, however, bring with them responsibilities. The last couple of days have occupied us with fulfilling some of those duties.

Due to the relationships we have with a number of good people in San Antonio, Texas who are associated with Vision Forum, our family has been asked annually to assist with the Vision Forum Faith & Freedom Tour. It is both our duty and delight to prepare and serve brown bag lunches to the 160 or so tour attendees throughout the week of the tour. Of course, what is a good lunch without a couple of homemade cookies?

So, yesterday and today have witnessed two very successful days cookie baking. In just ten total hours, we have finished baking all the Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter/White Chocolate Chip, and Hobo cookies, and have averaged a speed of over 201 CPH! That mulitiplies out to over 168 dozen cookies. And, of course, that doesn't count the cookies that just happened to break, or the batch that just didn't turn out quite right...

What I'd really love to have right now is a Sucrometer for our kitchen, because I'm quite sure that inhaling just one breathful of the air in our home this evening would prove to be fatal to a diabetic. Quite frankly, no one here is interested in eating any cookies this evening.

One final note - we are all very grateful for the providential timing of a major storm that came through our area Tuesday evening. Although many friends were majorly inconvenienced by it (due to lengthy power outages, tree damage, etc.) we are delighting in the change of weather that it ushered in. To say it plainly, daytime temperatures were unseasonably warm before the storm, reaching into the mid-90's. Today, we didn't make it up to 70 degrees! Perfect weather, when one is running the ovens all day!

Getting ready!

Cookie dough, anyone?

"Mashing" the peanut butter cookies.

The vital question: Are they done?

And the final step, bagging the cooled cookies!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

ICHE's Family Camp - September 9-11, 2005

Hello to you all from Corrine DeLadurantey! She (and her parents) spent Saturday with us at ICHE's annual family camp in East Troy, Wisconsin. Thankfully, the weather was great for camping (no rain!). We enjoyed lots of conversations, a couple of science workshops by geologist David D'Armond, several games of volleyball, boating, biking, campfires, and everything else that goes with camping!

Mississippi Update 2

Here are the long-awaited pictures from Josh and Nathan's trip to the disaster area in Gulfport, Mississippi. They arrived home, totally exhausted, late Friday night. Altogether they were gone about 57 hours, and slept in the very bouncy and not-made-for-comfort truck cab for maybe 7 of those hours.

They brought back about 30 minutes of video footage from their trip. Unfortunately, we haven't had time to edit it down and get it posted here - maybe later! In the meantime here are just a few photos:

As mentioned in the previous post, after unloading their load of supplies, they headed over to the local regional airport to pick up some more goods that had been flown down for the church we were working with.

Although originally believed to be Air Force One, the plane they were working next to was in actuality only Air Force Two (the plane facing the camera).

In a "lesser damaged" area - there is actually debris!

The next three pictures were taken along US Highway 90 - a few weeks ago it would have been a 4-lane divided highway with frontage roads, bordered by homes, apartments, restaurants, hotels, etc. You can see some empty slabs where buildings used to stand, but even the debris has been washed away - or was blown further inland. Notice, too, how the trees that remain have been stripped of all their foliage. Josh and Nathan could give you a much better report, but Josh is already on the road again, this time with Jonathan. Their destination is the NCFIC conference in Houston!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Mississippi Update

Well, Nathan & Josh arrived safe and sound in Gulfport this morning, and, as of our last conversation a few minutes ago, they are currently in northern Mississippi on their way home.

When they arrived at their destination, the men from the church were very excited to see the containers of fuel, and were so excited to see the generators that they promptly sought to hide them. They said everything we sent down there will be put to good use and were very grateful for the supplies and support.

After Nathan and Josh had the truck empty, they were called over to the airport to pick up some more supplies for the church that had arrived via a private jet. As they drove up to the plane, they noticed another airplane nearby. It just happened to be Air Force One!

After returning and again unloading the truck, they took (or attempted to take) a quick nap, and then were escorted into a restricted area right on the coast. The devastation they saw was mind-boggling. They said that the neighborhood in which they dropped off the supplies looked like a really bad storm had come through. The area along the coast simply was no more. The amount of work that needs to be done is just incredible. They also said that some people are taking advantage of the victims and charging exorbitant amounts for services such as tree removal.

Josh reported that they think they got some good footage, and hopefully we'll be able to post some more pictures and maybe a video clip here after they get back.

Here are a couple of photos Nathan took with his cell phone and emailed over to us. These are both from earlier in the day in the lesser damaged areas.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Relief

This morning Joshua and Nathan left with a large truck load of supplies headed for delivery from our church to a church in Gulfport, Mississippi.

We are thankful for those who donated their time and resources to make this trip possible. Yesterday Nathan was able to rent a brand new truck for a very reasonable rate (discounted greatly since it was being rented for a relief project). By mid-afternoon, we had already begun gathering supplies (SAM'S, Goodwill, Wal-Mart, etc.) and had our first stuff loaded into the truck. From there we went on to shop at GFS, Woodman's, Logli's, and Farm & Fleet, and finally, by just after 9:00 pm, we had the truck full, the church's designated amount nearly spent, and were heading back home. In the end, our shipment included items such as: a variety of non-perishable food items, paper plates, paper towels, plastic ware, diapers, wipes, clothing, pillows, water, toilet paper, laundry detergent, can openers, basic hygiene and medical supplies, bleach, pain relievers, generators, fuel, water, tarps, Bibles, bug spray, flashlights, batteries, rope, duct tape and more!

At almost every store we visited when they heard that we were collecting supplies for the relief of the gulf coast area, they were immediately very eager to help us in any way they could. At Logli's the assistant manager was especially helpful and seemed very touched by what we were doing. He shook all our hands and thanked us when we left the store! Those waiting in line behind us at the customer service desk were also very gracious. "Don't worry about us! If you're bringing that all down to Mississippi, we'll wait forever for that. It's so good of you to be doing this." The manager at GFS donated about $80 worth of paper goods, and an extra large jar of candy. He said, "It doesn't really serve any purpose but it will make some kids happy!" At Farm & Fleet, we made the cashier's day and one man who helped us came out to the truck as we were leaving to offer his best wishes and tell us to be careful on the way.

Others also helped out:
Nathan Del's family's church in Michigan has also joined with us in financially supporting this project.

Jeremy is currently building an addition for a lady in Lake County. When she heard of what we were doing as he worked yesterday, she wrote a check out to the church to be used to aid the relief effort and sent it home with Jeremy.

The mother of one of Jessica's piano students also wrote a check to our church for the same purpose.

The pictures make the truck appear less full than it really was. In fact, it just about maxed out the weight limit. You can't see it in these pictures, but the lady at the leasing company put a sign on the side of the truck that clearly stated that we were driving with hurricane relief supplies. She said that at weigh/check stations they are often just waving through those vehicles that are carrying supplies down to the coast. Nathan & Josh have both also been admonished to take a lot of pictures, and Nathan brought his video camera along as well and hopes to get some footage to show our church upon their return.

Please continue to pray for the guys as they travel, and also for the church and families they are seeking to help in Gulfport.

Nathan thinks maybe we should trim some of the bushes, and perhaps remove a certain tree from along the border of our driveway. Not sure why - he seemed to make it in and out just fine!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Labor Day

As funny as it may sound, one of our family's favorite thing about traveling is one of our favorite things about home - the people with whom we get to spend our time.

This weekend we hosted our next door neighbors, the Savinos, and our across the street neighbors, the Bernhardts, for a barbeque. We are blessed to have such great families as neighbors and we all greatly enjoyed our evening together.

Nathan, Jeanine, and Corrine joined us, too, to the delight of all!

Of course, we couldn't NOT play volleyball! For Nathan, it was a significant game. It celebrated the two year anniversary of the first time he played volleyball in our yard... very significant!

The Savino's married daughter, Liz, and her family joined us, too!

Our "Campfire." Don't laugh, but it was just a candle - and a much smaller one than it appears to be in this photo!

All play and no work is no good! During the day on Labor Day some of us did some cleaning and organizing of the garage and the Resounding Voice studio. Necessary work and still not quite finished!


Here are some pictures from last night's dinner entertainment!
The many faces of Caroline:

Friday, September 02, 2005

NCFIC Conference in Olympia, Washington

What a wonderful time Josh & I had in Washington this past weekend! A great big "Thank You" to the Bradricks and Browns for their work in hosting the conference and their warm hospitality and friendship. Both families are truly delightful, and we enjoyed working together with them and extending many conversations into the wee hours of the morning. It was truly an encouragement to be there!

Gregg Harris and Scott Brown were the main speakers over the weekend, being joined by conference host Michael Bradrick who also gave a pertinent teaching on child training.

As Mr. Brown only brought his daughters with him, and as the Bradricks have several more girls than boys presently at home, Josh and Stephan Bradrick enjoyed each other's company over the weekend.

Friday night the Bradrick ladies provided about 20 of us (staff, speakers, guests) with a chili dinner. We ate right outside the hotel over looking a little lake with the peek of Mt. Ranier just visible above the trees. Very lovely and relaxing!

And what could make us feel more at home than cooking and washing dishes in a hotel room? :)

I must admit that we don't have many pictures of this trip because most of the time we were helping with the conference or sitting around talking - and I just don't think to take pictures in the middle of interesting conversations!

Father Son Retreat

Here's a group photo from the ICHE Father/Son Retreat last weekend! Check out Jonathan's Blog for more pictures and a first hand report.