Sunday, January 31, 2010

Six Years of Luke

Today is Luke's 6th birthday!

Luke was born the second boy and youngest of six, and is now the 6th child of 8 :) He was born on January 31, 2004....

Newborn Luke

....and grew very quickly
Sept. 2004

Luke and Leia...not exactly twins, eh?... :P

First Christmas (11m.)

Right around Luke's first birthday

Day before Luke's 2nd birthday

with Marie (Oct. 2007)

Luke's 4th Birthday 2008

October 2008
(I LOVE this picture!)

New baby sister! Luke and ZuZu (July 2009)

Luke, Leia and ZuZu at the Jackson Memorial at Chancellorsville (January 2010)

One March birthday tradition is that the birthday boy/girl/parent gets to choose all the meals, and they can pick whatever they want!
This morning, we had doughnuts with chocolate icing and sprinkles. Normally, Leia and I (with help from Titty sometimes) do the whole shebang when someone wants doughnuts (that'd be making the doughnuts and icing), but this year we cheated a little and bought the doughnuts and then made the icing :) He didn't really mind.
For lunch, we had butter noodles with broccoli and alfredo sauce. Yum! For supper, the menu is spaghetti and meatballs (Luke doesn't mind having two noodle meals a day :P).

Some "fast facts" about Luke:
  • His real middle name is Bubbie's first name (he was born the day after Bubbie's birthday)
  • He LOVES studying and acting out the War Between the States
  • His favorite song is probably "The Bonnie Blue Flag" or "Jine the Cavalry"
  • He has lots of fun playing knights, Confederate soldiers, football, Narnia and Star Wars with Peter and Inigo
  • He loves his Mama :)
  • Luke shares a room with Peter and Inigo, and frequently comments on the noise level
  • Luke likes everything to be organized. Takes after his mama and Leia, heaven knows he didn't get it from me :)
  • He really likes noodles
  • Has a very cute way of asking/hinting for things that breaks down even the toughest mama or older sister
  • Very tenderhearted
  • Loves the dogs, even though their almost as tall as him and bowl him over if he's not careful
  • Luke is so cuddly and snuggly!!!
  • Enjoys school very much, especially because he has the best homeroom teacher around!
  • Frequently writes loving notes to his mama 

We love our Luke!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Tribute

This is going to be a hard post to write. There's so much I could say....

To start:
The picture above is of my mother's father: "Bubbie". He was called "Bubba" by nearly everyone, and when the grandkids came along, we modified it a little :) He was born on January 30th, sometime between 1935 and 1945 but I'm not sure when. :) Today would've been his birthday. Bubbie died in 2005, after four years of dementia.

This picture was given to Mama as a gift from Annie (our grandmother, Bubbie's wife and Mama's mama) a couple Christmases ago. It captured who Bubbie was, almost completely.
  1. Bubbie loved to hunt
  2. Bubbie liked to smoke his pipe (I still love the smell of a pipe)
  3. Bubbie loved his family (see the ring?)
  4. Bubbie was strong, physically and mentally
One thing this picture does not show is something that symbolizes his love, deep undying love, for his Savior: Jesus Christ. Bubbie LOVED his hymns. He had one Anne Murray CD that he listened to every single day, even up till the end, when that was about all he still could do. That CD skipped badly, but it didn't matter 'cause Bubbie knew all the songs on it by heart anyway.

His struggle with dementia was not easy for anyone. It didn't really bother us children in it's early stages, but we noticed when his vocabulary dropped to only our names and "wow" (that word became "Bubbie's word" to us for so many years) in 2003 and then only to "wow" and then to something that no one could understand. We noticed when he didn't bring us Krispy Kreme every morning when he and Annie stayed with us. Reason was, he couldn't drive. We loved him anyway, probably better than we would if he hadn't been sick. I know I grew protective of him, helped him whenever I could. I knew it didn't look or sound like he could understand much, I knew he could understand enough to know how much we all loved him.

So, this year (June 11) will mark five years since Bubbie passed away. 
At the grave, June 2005 (right after the funeral)

Three more grandchildren have joined the family (GoGo, Zuzu and Little Joe) and my uncle *finally* got married. At my aunt and uncle's rehearsal dinner, my aunt got up and spoke about Bubbie. He was in heaven, and but we could feel that he was with us in spirit. 

Nothing can be said about Bubbie without mentioning Bubbie's two very best friends. The first I've already mentioned: Jesus Christ. The second is a dog, Friend. Friend stayed loyal to Bubbie to the very end, and died only about a year or so later. She was the most loyal dog anyone could ever have.
June 2005

Friend and Peter (2005)

Friend and Luke (2006, year after Bubbie passed)

Bubbie had many favorite songs, and I'm going to end this post with the words of one of them (we sang this at his funeral service):

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
emblem of suffering and shame;
And I love that old cross 
where the dearest and best
For a world of 
lost sinners was slain.

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.
O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.
In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.
To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

We praise and love you Lord Jesus!

Little Women ~ Comparison Post #3 ~ 1978 Version

Warning!!! (that I should've put above every one of these posts, but forgot)
This review may contain spoilers!!!

Little Women 1978
Starring: Susan Dey, Meredith Baxter, Ann Dusenberry, Eve Plumb, William Shatner, Richard Gilliland

What we found in the 1994 version, was that the producer sought to draw too many popular names into one group to create the film and the results were mediocre. I mean, Christian Bale might've been a great "Batman", but as Laurie.....

Anyway, this 1978 Little Women (made for TV) could've been the same way. I mean, some might even see it this way. Where else do have actors from The Partridge Family, The Brady Bunch, Star Trek, and Family Ties all in the same film? But I think they did a marvelous job.

I'm not going to get gushy in this review like I did for the 1933 version, nor am I going to slam this film a little too hard like I did with the 1994 version. I'm going to lay out the pros and cons of this picture in bullet points, to make it easier for you to process all the info I'm getting ready to dump on your head :)


Pros of Little Women 1978:

  • Laurie and Jo's relationship was that of a young man and a young lady, and they treated each other as such, no inappropriate romping, just a great, wholesome, fun friendship that was beneficial to them both.
  • Marmee was a dear! She was very compassionate, listened to her daughters very patiently, and even though you could see several times that she had a temper, she was a perfect example of how you can control it, no matter what.
  • Meg (Meredith Baxter) and John Brooke (Cliff Potts) were a lovely pair, acted very well together. This John Brooke is better than the 1933 one, mainly because you see him more.
  • My sister (Leia) really really liked the Beth in this movie. She told me that Eve Plumb (from The Brady Bunch) captured what she thought Beth should be. I personally prefer the looks of the Beth from 1933, but Leia was right, Eve Plumb really gave you a great picture of the way Beth would act. Rosy and happy, but not too wild, shy and timid, but not a introvert. Really lovely.
  • They didn't show Beth's death scene! Wonder why I put this in the pros? Because the other two movies didn't exactly get the scene right, and this movie didn't even try. That was wise, and the substitute scene (after Beth's death) that they used instead was very moving, and you didn't have to see anyone die.
  • Laurie *sigh*.....I wasn't expecting Richard Gilliland to become "my" Laurie (meaning that he's who I picture now when I think of Laurie), especially during the first hour and a half of this movie, but in the second half he was terrific! All my sisters agree, although Marie had this rather annoying habit of saying "There's Han Solo!" every time he came on screen :) FYI: he doesn't look like Harrison Ford at all.
  • While we're on the Harrison Ford topic, Professor Bhaer (William Shatner)'s almost impossible tell you how splendid he was! He had a very dignified spirit about him, and I know it wasn't just the part his was playing. I'd like to see Shatner in other films.... Now, I haven't seen Star Trek, so my viewing of his character wasn't touched by any previous film, but I know for some (my parents included) it was quite odd to see "Captain Kirk" playing the part of an old German professor. :) It'd probably be like me seeing a version of Little Women with Harrison Ford or Mark Hammil as the Professor :P (Now I'm thinkin' about it, wouldn't that be a hoot!)
  • Dad really had a hard time stomaching Susan Dey (he watched the Partridge Family a couple times way back when) as Jo, but once again, I most certainly have not seen her anything else, so I thought she was great! Y'all would like her too, I think. In this film, she carries herself like a lady, and doesn't have the sometimes-harsher voice of Katharine Hepburn. "My" Jo 100%!!!!
  • Loved Mrs. Kirke! They pronounced it "Keerk-a", and it fit her great. She stole the show in every scene she was in!
  • Mr. Laurence was very old and cranky with a tough outer shell, but still had that soft heart. Titty and Marie were quite convinced he was part Chinese, and were quite disappointed when IMBD proved them wrong :)
  • The movie was 3 hours long! That meant that many of the quirky, cute, or fun little scenes that the other films didn't have time for were kept in! (Keep in mind that this movie really was made for TV, and ran in episodes)
  • Now, saving the best for last: Jo and Professor Bhaer were the perfect acting pair! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the scene at the very end of the movie where they get engaged. None of the other films got it just right, but this one did. They even added stuff that wasn't in the book (and probably would've made the feminist side of Lousia May Alcott sick). When the Prof. tells Jo that they can't get married for a year (he has to go out West), Jo begs him to let her come with him. He says, very gently and firmly, something like this (I love this!), "I'm going to take care of you the way I want to take care of you, and I need to go earn a home for you first!" Jo smiles at him, and submits with a quiet "Yes, Freidrich." That may sound cheesy to you, but it's perfect. You really have to see it to understand!

Cons of Little Women 1978:
  • Amy. Don't need to elaborate too much on it, but she didn't work for me. Same actor all the way through (that was the wise choice of the directors for 1994, picking two Amys, instead of one) and that actor could not realistically be 11 no matter how much make up they used!!!!! In the second half of the movie she improved, 'cause she was playing closer to her actual age, and the scenes with her and the redeemed Laurie in Nice were very well done, but other than that, *cough* no good.
  • There was one really not-great scene with Laurie and Amy in Europe. Laurie comes to see Amy in the middle of the night, quite tipsy. Really casts a bad light on him. In my opinion, that scene was about as bad as the scene in Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel when Gilbert tells Anne that he's engaged to Christine. Really bad. So, if you don't like watching someone as great as Laurie coming into a girl's apartment at 12am drunk, skip that scene, or watch it muted. :P (no bad words or inappropriate remarks, just really hard to watch) I will tell you though, that one of my sisters (no names) thought it was funny.
  • There was really no atmosphere. That sense of family that the 1933 version captured so well was completely absent in this movie. So, even though they kept in a lot of great scenes and the casting was (once again) a hair-line from perfect, it lacked depth.

So, my verdict:

WATCH IT!!!! If you like Little Women, and are interested in finding a version you like, definitely watch this! 

Jo's Rating:
Strength of Characters:****
Strength of Plot:****

Overall Rating: ****

This is the last of the comparison posts for now. It's come to our attention that there is a fourth version of Little Women out there (made in 1949) and we hope to see it sometime. I'm considering posting my overall verdict of the three films I've seen, and doing a self-contained post about the 1949 when/if we see it. We'll see, no promises :)

Friday, January 29, 2010

"Dead-Serious" Tag from Merriette

From Merriette@The Halls of Merriette
This is a truly beautiful tag. It's definitely not as "fun" as other tags, but it requires more "brain-power" to answer, and will make you think!
Oh, and Merriette, I found that many of your answers (especially the things we struggle with) are very similar to mine! I'm glad there's another young Christian maiden out there with similar struggles. God bless you!

#1. If you could have one thing -- whatever you wanted, what would it be? I would love to be omni-patient! (I made that word up, btw. "Omni" mean "all", and "patience" means "patience") To never be annoyed or irritate would be heaven on earth!

#2. If you were given time everyday in which you had to pray for one person -- and always the same one-- who would it be? Probably my dad. He's working through some hard and stressful things right now, and could use lots of prayer!

#3. Are you committed to praying for that person every day? Yes.

#4. If you could accomplish one specific task in life, what would it be? To touch as many people as possible with the light of Christ, whether in my home place or around the world

#5. If you could pick one character trait -- the only one you get -- for yourself, what would it be? Slow to anger would great!

#6. If you could do only one thing all your life, what would it be? Once again, tying back to question #4, I'd love to be light, glorifying God wherever I am in life. 

#7. What is your favorite attribute of God? His omniscience (all knowing-ness). I love the comfort of knowing that God knows EVERYTHING!!! (yes, even my private thoughts)

#8. What is one thing you struggle with in your walk with God the most? Keeping focused, not getting distracted from devotion time or prayer.

#9. What is one thing God has been teaching you lately? Well, the Lord has helped me put my relationships with my family and friends into perspective. Instead of getting annoyed with a couple of my sisters (who are struggling with some behavior issues right now), I focus my mind on the good sides of their character, and remind myself that I struggled with similar things (albeit on a lower degree) when I was their age.
Also, He's been showing me how to relate to my friends. I've had quite a few issues now with friends, not mean or angry ones, but definitely friendship-straining ones. And I have a typical youth girl case of "flutters" (search yourself, you know what I'm talking about) around young men. It's becoming much easier now (I've been praying faithfully about this for a long while) to *speak* around them and not act silly. The Lord is showing me that as sisters in Christ to these brothers, I can help them keep themselves pure by being even more pure and modest around them than I have been doing. Life lessons from the Lord are the best!

#10. What is one way in which God has shown you, personally, His abundant grace? 

#11. What is your favorite Bible verse? Why? My favorite verse is, "I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me." (Phillipians 4:13) I love to start new projects, but often have trouble finishing them if they get to hard. This verse is very comforting, and praying it over something relieves my spirit.

#12. What is your favorite book of the Bible? Why? Hard to choose one, since the Bible works as a whole. But I've been reading through Genesis, and *smiles* I really like the stories in that book! Noah's Ark, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and his 12 sons, Joseph in Egypt, and the others, they're so interesting and yes, exciting! I'm seeing these so-called "classic" stories with new eyes, and really enjoying them.

#13. What is the most painful trial God has given you? What have you learned from it? In 2007, some missionary friends were visiting our area. We grew very close to them, and really enjoyed hanging out with their three young children (age 6, 4, and 1 when they arrived) and experiencing the joy of a new sibling with them. Then, a month before they were scheduled to return to their home overseas (they stayed here over a year and a half) their two year old son fell into his grandparents' swimming pool and drowned. I grew so much spiritually during those agonizing eight days while this darling little boy was hooked up to tubes and machines in the PICU as the doctors tried to restore him. Nearly everyday that week, his older brother and sister stayed with us and they were so at peace, so calm about the whole thing, so confident their brother would not die. Their parents were incredible. When he did pass, they requested the Casting Crowns song "Praise You in this Storm" to be sung at his memorial service. It was incredibly moving. Our whole church (800+ members) was holding it's breath, growing closer to each other and uniting to help this family, and they were wonderful when it was all over.
So, I learned about the fragility of life, the encompassing peace of God and the loveliness of Christian community during that one tough week. (Also, two days before this event, my cousin broke his neck swimming in North Carolina, but that's another story. He's alright now, but that was the hardest month of my life)

#14. What is the greatest blessing God has given you? My family! I don't appreciate them as much as I should, and there are many relationships (sisters) that could be better, but overall I'm blessed by them everyday! My parents are my biggest supporters, they have NO IDEA how much I appreciate them.

#15. What is your biggest temptation? Keeping my THOUGHTS pure. I'm great at being sweet, modest and pure on the outside, but I need to keep up my guard on my heart and my mind.

#16. What is your most current praise of God? For leading us to this wonderful house in the country, and giving us the best across-the-street neighbor imaginable!

Well. That was quite a tag. I really liked it.
So, I tag all my followers! I understand that maybe not all of y'all are Christians, if you'd rather not do this that's alright. But I really would like everyone to try it. Comment and let me know if you're taking it.

Coming up next.....I won't tell you :P

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Little Jo -that's me :)

A little treat for y'all today....
This is just a follow-up on Leia's suggestion in the comment section of yesterday's post to post up some pictures of "little me."

Here goes....
As you'll, I'm not 100% sure when most of these pics were taken, but I'm three years old or under in all of them, and I was born in 1994.

With my dear ILC (I'm the baby, she's the girl :P)

Little Jo in South Carolina (1996?)

Easter 1996

1995 (with Julia)

Pajama Lady (1997)

Playing "Plastic Kitchen Restaurant" (1996)

Trying to catch the water spurting from the plastic fire engine in Columbia, SC (1996)

At the races with Mama and Daddy (I was about 1 years old, so 1995)

Christmas 1995
My ILC and her younger brother are in the back, me and Julia are in front

 Perched daintily in a tree at my cousins' house (1996 or 97)

In an airplane, not sure where we were going... (1998?)

I LOVE this picture! Yes, Mrs. FTR, this is you! :P (1998)

Blizzard of '96

Just found some more pictures from Leia's first birthday (1997):

So that's it (for now). Hopefully I'll get some up here of little Leia, little Titty and little everyone else :)
Hope you enjoyed the pics!

Love from
the not-so-little Jo

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Wave

Girl at the Mirror by Norman Rockwell

Ever heard of anything called "growing up"? It's a natural phenomenon that happens to pretty much every person in the whole wide world, no matter where you live or what color your skin is. Some people enjoy the sensation, others fight it with all that they are, but like the tide, it cannot be stopped.

Yesterday was the beginning of one of the growing up waves in my sea of life. Someone turned 16. No, not me, and actually not one person but a set of triplets that I've known for over eight years turned 16. This event in itself is not that startling, it's the fact that I will be turning 16 this year, as well as many of my other friends. In fact, I know people (personally) turning 16 in January, March, April, May, June, August, September, October (me), November and December!!!!! (also one in January of next year) We are growing up at a startling rate. Seriously! Where has the time gone?!?!?

Want to guess when this picture was taken? If you said "1996", you're right! This is my cousin Julia (right) and I in a box.....14 years ago! This year, both of us will be 16. :)

Julia (left) and I at my grandma's house this past holiday season, so December 2009

"Okay, what's the big deal about 16? 15's a nice birthday too, so's 18." you ask.
Yes, but this is the year where the fella who I've grown up with will get his learner's permit (then driver's license), we'll all be *gulp* Juniors in high-school and given more responsibilities. Also, thoughts on higher education will come up, adults will expect more from us in all respects. And...people are going to be "teasing" us girls about "sweet 16", although I don't intend to act any different in regards to our family beliefs on the whole courtship/dating scenario. :)

So I'm a little reflective today....rather unusual for me. I'm not normally this serious. Just keep in mind that childhood doesn't last forever, and sooner or later we'll need to start thinking more mature thoughts and doing more mature things, and it's best to start preparing ahead of time :)

Happy Wednesday!


Monday, January 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Mama!!!

Today is my wonderful mom's birthday! I can't possibly list everything she does me and for our family, but here are some top ones:

  • She plans our meals, and makes sure we have what supplies we need when we need them
  • She homeschools us, and has for the past 9+ years!
  • She listens well, and I really enjoy the conversations I have with her
  • She has really fun ideas about how to spend our time
  • She makes sure that the food we eat is healthy and beneficial for us (as much as possible :P)
  • She's a Southerner (and that says a lot)
We love you Mama!

Today is also the birthday of quite a few other people we know :)
Happy Birthday Mrs. H, Josh & Caleb (still can't believe y'all are 19!!!), Elliott and Campbell!!!!!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Stratford Hall: Ancestral Home of the Lee Family

Our day in the Northern Neck began around 9am, when we left home. Our first "big" stop for for about 45min. at the Chancellorsville battlefield site. Here we come to the life of another great man of our country: Thomas Jonathan Jackson. Robert E. Lee was a brave, noble, godly man, but I think that my "favorite" of all the heros of the War Between the States was Stonewall Jackson. His tragic death brings tears to my eyes, and is my least favorite part of the War's history. I was very moved, standing on the exact spot where this brave man was shot down on May 2, 1863.

where Jackson fell off his horse, seconds after being shot

Original monument, marking the spot. Set up in 1863.

Here is where Jackson was wounded

Chancellorsville Campaign Map

A little background...

This is Dad and I at the visitors' center.
The visitors' center is right on the battlefield site. (Actually, Chancellorsville was fought in the woods, so the battlefield should really be called the "battlewoods")

The best battle map of any battle we'd ever seen!

This was a very very moving place to visit. I just wish we'd had more time.
There's an incredible film called "Gods and Generals" that is mainly about the life of Stonewall Jackson during the War. Highly recommended!!!!

We also had lunch in the parking lot, here's Peter being silly (as usual :P)

Coming back from walking the Jackson Memorial Trail (Dad, Leia, Marie, Titty)

Our Destination: STRATFORD HALL

The grounds:

The carriage house:

The "Cinderella" carriage

A....chicken! :)

Back across the bridge

Little Zu!

Most of these pictures were taken with Leia's camera, which is why I'm in more of them than usual :)