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We have been back in the school routine for a couple of weeks, and it really is going very well.  In fact, if it can just keep going like it is now, we’ll have a fantastic year!

John has officially made it to his senior year.  He is very excited about graduating and beginning college next year.  Everyone asks what his plans are, and he’s still in the process of getting that narrowed down.  He has his options narrowed down to 2-3 schools and is interested in studying physics, math, music or a combination of those subjects.  He has a pretty good line-up of senior classes and is really enjoying A Beka Academy speech class.  I almost wish we hadn’t have waited until his senior year for this class because it is so full of good, practical information for life, but I don’t really know when else we could have fit it into his schedule either.  It is only a semester, so to fill the other semester he is going to take a family consumer science course–which we will all enjoy because there are lots of food labs!  :)

Brock is a sophomore and is really enjoying his Spanish class.  I am thankful for that–John didn’t enjoy it so much.  He is looking forward to being a junior next year when he will be old enough to participate in some of the college music classes like John has done.

Cosette is in 8th grade this year, and Luke is in 7th grade.  They just keep plugging away at the A Beka Academy curriculum–not much new to report there.  They are both enjoying their music lessons and are looking forward to participating in the college musical (hopefully) again.

Kara is in 5th grade, and she is very happy to have a “new” desk.  She had used one of our little desks for so long–she really needed something different last year, but we didn’t do anything about it.  This year, she is using the desk that I had when I was growing up, and she really enjoys having a bigger work area!  She is still working on the trumpet every day and enjoys playing the piano.

So, life keeps us busy!  And, there are several outside-of-school things going on for us this year as well.  John, Brock, and I (and maybe Cosette?) are going to write another library readers’ theater script, but this year we are going to start completely from scratch.  I know:  that’s kind of scarey!  I am also helping to rewrite and lead a melodrama play that will be part of this year’s barbershop concert in the early spring.  The barbershop director wants people not in the chorus to do the acting, so that cuts out John, Brock, Luke, and Dan.  I am planning parts for Cosette and Kara, so they will enjoy that.

A big new project for me this year will be helping with our local Christian School’s Christmas program.  This will be an exciting adventure, to say the least, but I am sure that it will be a good, rewarding experience.  As my own kids grow up and leave home, I’ve always considered helping with music at this school, so this will be a small way to get started with that.  Right now I am looking through scripts trying to find just the “right” one.  Once the program is selected, I’ll need to get back with the school to arrange practices.

My new saying is this:  Life sure is lively!  I am thankful for every opportunity, though.  It is a blessing to be busy in meaningful, purposeful pursuits!

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2-6 Old Film Collection

Note:  the pictures for this entry were provided by the Prairie Museum of Art and History of Colby, Kansas, and are used with their gracious permission.

A highlight of the end of our summer break was the 2014 Night at the Museum Camp that was hosted by the Prairie Museum of Art and History.  This was the museum’s third annual event like this during which volunteers from the community select an artifact from the museum, research a person associated with that artifact, and then portray that person telling about his/her life for a public performance at the end of the week. Last year was the Prairie Family’s first year to be involved, with John, Brock, and Cosette all assuming historical roles.

John and Brock both had summer jobs that kept them pretty busy this year, so Cosette went back for her second year joined by Luke and Kara.  The camp week was packed with research, games, and rehearsals.  It’s amazing how much can be accomplished in five days!  Cosette wasn’t even sure who her character would be on Monday, but by the end of the week, she was all decked out in a pilot’s costume ready to tell her person’s story.  Luke and Kara decided to team up, which proved to be both a good thing and a challenging thing.  Luke missed the first two days of the camp because he was on a canoe trip, so Kara jumped in to do quite a bit of research on her own.  She was sure relieved when her partner was able to join her!  They were both a little nervous that they wouldn’t be able to pull it all together in such a short period of time, but they did great!

The week gave us lots of opportunities here at home to talk about acting, history, costumes, etc.  Probably the best discussions we had centered on how each person that is portrayed at this event had an interesting life and accomplished something meaningful.  I challenged all of the kids to live such a life.  It is easy in today’s world to be so distracted by all of the “stuff” that we diddle away our time selfishly entertaining ourselves. Instead, we all need to find what God has called us to do, and do it wholeheartedly for His glory.  That, and only that, will give our lives true meaning.

My next entries will tell a little bit about the characters that my kids chose to portray this year.  In the meantime, here is a slideshow of some of the behind-the-scenes activities that took place at the Night at the Museum Camp 2014:

 

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Final Rehearsals

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The final week of musical rehearsals is stressful, but full of wonderful memories.  The intense practice schedule really gives the cast a chance to bond and make lasting friendships–and this year that was particularly true for the Prairie Family.

It’s amazing how shows pull the pieces together in that last week. Lines are cemented (hopefully!), scenes become tighter, and the show starts resembling a real musical.  It’s an amazing transformation to observe!  There are lots of funny moments as well when props malfunction, people miss entrances, lines are ad libbed, etc., but those moments turn into precious memories.

Once that last rehearsal is finished, it’s time to give the performances to the Lord, and ask for His blessing on them.  And He did bless!  More to come…..

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This Saturday, the barbershop group that the Prairie Family guys have joined is having their big concert for this season.  The concert is entitled “Harmony in Conflict: Civil War” and will feature several barbershop groups performing traditional barbershop songs and Civil War-era songs.  There are two performances, so they will be busy most of the day, but they enjoy it, and they certainly have learned a lot about singing, harmonizing, and blending through their work with this group.

John’s Civil War hat has an interesting story.  When the group’s hats came in, all of them were teeny tiny little hats.  The hats fit Luke pretty well, but are tight on Dan and Brock, and WAY too small for John.  His crazy hat looked so silly sitting on top of his head–he almost needed a string to tie it on!  :)  I was talking about it with a lady from our church, and she said that she thought she might be able to make it work better.  I told her if she could, she would be a very-much-appreciated miracle worker!  She took the hat home with John’s head measurement, and after having it only for a few hours, she had that hat fixed so it fits!  Yes, indeed:  a much-appreciated miracle worker!  I know I have mentioned this several times recently, but I must say it again:  we are truly blessed with wonderful friends.  I don’t know what we would do without them!

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Joni Eareckson Tada has been a life-long inspiration to me.  This beautiful song that she recorded for the movie “Alone, Yet Not Alone”  has just been nominated for an Oscar.

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Christmas Dinner CollageOne of our very special Christmas memories for 2013 was our family Christmas dinner.  We’ve always done a nice holiday dinner, but this year we decided to invite other special friends to join us–we always have plenty of food, so why not?  The more the merrier!  :)

Our little house doesn’t work very well for group gatherings–especially those that involve food. Our kitchen is small, but our table is really too small even just for our own family let alone any guests.  So, rather than let this become a limiting factor, we decided to move our family dinner to the basement of our church, and that worked out very well.  There’s plenty of seats and table space, so we’ll definitely keep that as an option in the future.  And, yes, I do want this to become another Prairie Family tradition.  Christmas is for loving and sharing, and even though this was a lot of work, it was one of the most joyful parts of our celebration.

God has been teaching me a lot over the past few months, and this dinner was part of that.  By nature, I am a quiet, selfish person who is perfectly happy to keep to myself and do my own thing.  Earlier this year–even going back to this past summer–God began to impress on me that it was time to work on that.  I needed to get out of my comfort zone and reach out to others.  Others includes everyone regardless of age, social class, or situation.  I can be so harsh and judgmental–God has to constantly remind me that He alone knows the heart.  It’s my job to love.  Yes, that’s it–my job is to love and serve others.

So, I have been acting on that.  And, you know what?  I am happy–truly, truly happy!  I heard it said just yesterday that you can never have too many people as friends, and that is so true.  I need people, and, yes, people need me.  I want to take advantage of every opportunity that God gives me to reach out to others with His hand of gracious care.  That is my resolution for 2014.

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