Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Bentley Kitchen Facelift!

For about the last fifteen years we have talked about getting a new kitchen floor. Our old floor was showing a lot of wear, and the linoleum was starting to deteriorate around the edges of the floor. So why did we just talk? Well, the family could never quite decide that the right time had come. Ideally Mom wanted a ceramic tile floor, but ultimately she wanted to lay the ceramic tile after she had knocked down about 3 walls of the house and completely changed the kitchen layout. Ceramic tile doesn't come up easily (and we discovered that linoleum doesn't either) and because we never knocked down 3 walls, we never put in a new kitchen floor. But finally the day dawned and the family decided that it was time - walls or no walls. The family worked hard together, first scraping away the old floor and then priming the plywood floor and finally laying the new creamy brown linoleum tiles. It was truly an exhausting project (and I say that just from a picture analysis, as I haven't even been home to watch!).

Rebecca starts by scraping away the old linoleum. It sticks!

Bit by bit, the floor emerges. Caleb surveys the work left to be done.

Jacob takes the honors of priming the floor. This is easier than painting walls!

Early this morning, Dad (in bathrobe), Luke and Jacob (in pajamas) start laying the tile.

Later on today, Rebecca and Caleb continue tiling. Mom supervised this project and did an A#1 job! Go Mom!

Ah! We can eat in peace once again.

Monday, October 24, 2005

For The Joy of Human Love

Student teaching has been an incredibly draining (and also rewarding) experience. I have had many busy semesters, but this certainly wins the prize for mental taxation. The weekends have been pretty busy too, trying to catch up with homework for my grad classes. However, this weekend my friend Debbie and baby Melody came to visit for supper. It was such a wonderful break from work and school. Both Melody and Debbie exude joy and little children have marvelous powers of restoration!

For the joy of human love
Brother, sister, parent, child
Friends on earth, and friends above
For all gentle thoughts and mild
Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise

~Folliot S. Pierpont

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Cottage and Farmhouse Transform

The farm continues to change, right along with the leave colors and dropping temperatures. The cottage at the end of the lane recently turned a deep green, and the farmhouse lost an indoor/outdoor room to make way for a greenhouse that will soon house an indoor pool.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

What wondrous love is this?

I normally don't find airplane travel to be a very spiritual experience. In fact roaring engines, jolting wheels, cramped space, long waits, stale air, precarious heights, motion sickness, and heart-thumping deceleration rates have made travel, in my book, a very survival-based exercise.

However, I was broken out of my most recent survival mode trance, in flight to Seattle, by a father who sat in the seat in front of me with his two twin sons who looked to be about three years old. His wife and third child sat in the adjacent row. His sons were sick with a cold and I think that some of my fellow passengers were annoyed by the fact that sick kids were sitting around them in a plane.

But, being accustomed to large families and third-graders, I didn't find the sniffling and dirty tissues to be a bother. What I did notice, however, was that this father had the most amazing expression on his face every time he looked at one of his sons. His sons were very affectionate toward him and behaved well for the entire 4-hour flight. From time to time, the sons would playfully pull the father's hat down over his face and the father would pop out and play along with them.

I was touched by the very evident love that was present in these relationships, and I think I would have just passed it by with a smile and gone back to sleep, were it not for a very simple image that I have not forgotten since. At some point along the flight, one of the sons fell asleep. You would think that the father would finally be happy to get some rest himself, but surprised, I looked up ahead of me to see the father just gazing at his son. It was the most wonderful expression of delight that is too hard to tell in words. It was as though the father thought that his son was the choicest, most beautiful object in the whole world. Somehow this image, still seared in my memory, spoke to me of a Heavenly Father that delighted greatly in his children (James 1).

If an earthly father's love is so great, how incredibly excellent is our Heavenly Father's love toward us (Matthew 7:11).

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Surprise! The Three Peas Unite.

Kristiane and Trina make pancakes, but take time to smile for the camera.

A relaxing day must incude massages. A fancy vibrating instrument helps!

In the middle of my very busy semester of student teaching, my teaching fellowship hosted a meeting in Seattle that I was required to attend. It was an excellent meeting about teaching science as inquiry. The conference lasted for two days. Following the conference, I had arranged to spend Saturday evening and Sunday, with my friend Trina Davis, who was one of my senior year roommates from George Fox University. We were so excited to see each other. Of course we were a little sad, though, because our 'third' senior year roommate, Kristiane, wasn't going to be with us due to a very intense medical school schedule. Saturday morning I woke up at Trina's place, and who would ring the doorbell but Kristiane! She had flown up to Seattle from southern California to surprise me (turns out that Trina knew)! I was so overwhelmed by her surprise! We had a wonderfully special day together - it was so relaxing, complete with Kristiane's homemade wheat pancakes, a long autumn walk, a special afternoon hot chocolate with Trina's grandmother, massages, Tillamook ice cream, Mother's Taffy cookies and tons of catching up. Oh, the joy!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Camera Fun

Rebecca and Caleb enjoyed this cool autumn day in the fields with a camera. They had their fun with an old photo trick.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Columbus Weekend Reunion

Isaac, Nathaniel and I ventured from Ithaca, Princeton and Binghamton to the farm for the weekend. It was the first time that the family had been together again since Isaac left for Cornell on August 19th. It was a very happy reunion. This weekend ushered in the beginning of the autumn season with more than 24 straight hours of steady rain. The leaves have started to change color and the rain brought many of the leaves down from the trees. We decided that this weekend provided a unique window of opportunity to take our family Christmas card picture. On Friday night we played a version of "The Newlywed Game" with Natalie and Nick (to wed in November) and Mom and Dad (married for 26 years). Mom and Dad technically won, but Natalie and Nick won endearment points (aka kind answers) to beat Mom and Dad in the final tally. On Sunday night, Clarence Knapp came for supper. Clarence is the farmer who is graciously housing our cows while the farm is in a state of transition.

Monday, October 03, 2005

The Dairy Herd Turns 10!

Today marks the tenth anniversary of Isaac's dairy herd. Bentley's Tri Autumn Jeanne was born on this day ten years ago. She was the first cow in Isaac's dairy herd. The total dairy herd now numbers more than ten cows, many of them are the offspring of Autumn Jeanne.

Today I told my middle school students that October 3rd was a special day because it marked the birthday of my brother's first cow. I told them that the cow was named after the season and after Aunt Jeanne Angell. I explained to the eighth graders that it was a family tradition to name cows after aunts. Some of them seemed to think that would be offensive to the respective aunt. But it was only ever done with the deepest sense of fondness and respect.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Rebecca's Calf is Born

Before Henry died, he gave Rebecca a calf named Speedette. Speedette just gave birth to a female calf named Speedster. The calf is kept with the rest of the herd on Clarence's farm. The happy owner is pictured above with her new calf, brother Caleb and friends, Cameron and Jesse.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Back to The Original Plan

Mom and Dad lived in the farmhouse that you see in these pictures when I was born. We lived there for the first two years of my life before moving east about a 1/2 km up Bentley Lane. Construction was started on the farmhouse before the Revolutionary War. Many years later a garage was added to the farmhouse, protruding in a box-like formation off of the eastern side. It wasn't architecturally beautiful, nor was it very functional. Hans decided that it was time that the garage meet its end.