Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A Surprise Visitation

On Saturday, we got a phone call from a neighbor that she had met three bicyclists who were Quakers from Oregon. She wondered if we would be interested in hosting them for a night. We were so blessed! Marianne, Mariah, and Jake arrived at our house and fit like a puzzle piece. Jake worked tirelessly with Luke and Isaac, waking up at 3;45am each of the three mornings he was here to milk cows at Clarence's farm. Mariah has the best smile in the world and bucketloads of joy. Marianne was a calming presence for Mom in the kitchen as she was preparing for all of the Memorial Day excitement. Jake, Marianne and Mariah started bicycling about a week ago in Washington D.C. They plan to head up to Maine and then bike back to Oregon through the northern United States. It is a three month trip. We were all amazed at their tremendous fortitude and were really grateful to have made such special friends.

Jake, Marianne and Mariah.

Mariah shows off the hammock that she sleeps in along the road. It is very lightweight, mosquito-proof and (from hearsay) comfortable. In addition to traveling with really amazing sleep equipment, Mariah and Jake showed us their really swell stoves that are made from tuna cans and fiberglass and isopropyl alcohol. They make Ramen noodle soup and macaroni and cheese as they travel.

This morning our new friends left us for Connecticut. They usually bicycle about 60 miles a day. We were very sad to see them leave. The family is already trying to think about ways that we could get them to visit again.

Monday, May 29, 2006

A Memorial Day Picnic

Today was a wonderful Memorial Day! We had a Bentley Farm picnic with about 30 people. Mom made the most amazing food to welcome in the summer. The weather was definitely hot enough to remind us that summer is soon on its way.

The porch is in disrepair due to Isaac's plans to build a new porch. But, the dirt didn't stop us.

Isaac's friends, Pat, Christian and John joined the Memorial celebration. Nate had been looking forward to this day all throughout finals week.

Finn holds the big beach ball.

The mens' table: Clarence, Hans, Ralph and Dad.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Once a Roommate, Always a Roommate

My roommate from George Fox, Trina Davis, came with her husband, Ron, for a 24 hour visit to Bentley Farm today. The day was beautiful. My sisters and I walked with Trina through the fields and woods while the boys went on a more strenuous run. We spent the afternoon on the lawn of Mills Mansion, taking in the much desired sun and (of course) talking.

Ron treats us to a post-lunch improv piano recital.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Toy Tractors are Fun

One of the big blessings of the recent wedding was that we had an encouraging visit with Katherine and Justin's pastor and family. After breakfast, Aedan and Emma thoroughly enjoyed playing with the John Deere tractor toys.

To Show Himself Faithful

However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth? Luke 18:8

A family friend reminded my father recently of a question asked years ago of my dad: Tom, how will you put all of your children through college? My dad's response was simple, "I have a very rich Father." This vision of faith is now seen as a reality, and indeed our family will testify that we all have a very rich Father. As the psalmist says, our Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10). The Christian journey has often been said to be a journey of faith, but indeed we too often take it upon ourselves to orchestrate a secular solution to a spiritual problem. Prayer and patience characterize the journey of faith; scheming, haste and derision are the fruits of our best laid plans.

Faith so often seems misconstrued to be a tool that we use for our own gain and benefit. How do we keep from falling into the trap that our faith will result in our exclusive prosperity?

May God teach as to pray,

Thy Best,
Thy Kingdom,
Thy Power,
Thy Glory. God, thou art faithful.

For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. 2 Chronicles 16:9

Friday, May 26, 2006

A Spring Wedding

Katherine, a friend of mine since age 3, wedded today.

The bridal party and bride and groom.


The mother and the bride.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Nate and Isaac Return for the Summer

Nate had a wonderful first year at Princeton. The social life was great, the academics were stressful. His plans for the summer? Nate will work with Hans, our Dutch neighbor on the farm. He hopes to make many trips to the Stanfordville Dump. His big dream for the summer is to go camping again with me. Maybe we will venture to Lake Erie.

Isaac has more plans for the summer than time. He is working at the Pine Plains Veterinary Association with his favorite vet, Dr. Hart. He is waking up at 3:45 am and milking cows at Clarence's farm. And he has many projects started around our own house. Currently the front porch is in shambles because Isaac is hoping to redo it.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Most Beautiful Woman

George Washington was known to have said, "My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her." Though these are not my words originally, these words begin to express my deep love and appreciation for Mom. I would, though, add to them.

Dear Mom,

You stand as a witness to a rare treasure. In a time when many women have perceived their significance and worth to be outside the home, in a time when many women have rejected the blessed gifts of conception, in a time when many women have balked at the prospect of simple submission to husband, home and family, you have been a stalwart. In humble elegance you have defended the beauty of the home, you have sacrificed your life to the conception of new life and you have found pure joy in submission to the most ordinary of human tasks.

You have undertaken mothering with the surrender of natural desire. As with honor, you have often sat in an old nightgown and torn chair late at night rocking a child in your arms. And while the world increduously laughs that you would give in this manner not just once or just twice, but eight times and more if granted, you would smile. For to the poverty of the world, you have brought distinct dignity. Through the black of night and through the frustrations of the noon-day hour you have labored and toiled for the future of this world.

You have never been too busy to listen, too old to play, too exhausted to keep on laboring, too tired to laugh or too emptied to give yet another hug.

Your love is of the most pure and beautiful of all human loves. Of all visionaries, professionals, missionaries, philanthrophists, teachers, doctors, benefactors, politicians, activisits and preachers, you have changed the world the most. In patient hope, you have sown the immortal seed of love.

And, we, your eight children, are very blessed.

Happy Mother's Day,

Sarah, Isaac, Nathaniel, Luke, Hannah, Jacob, Rebecca and Caleb

Saturday, May 13, 2006

May Sky

Our cousins, Christopher, Daniel and Joshua came with Uncle Sam to spend the weekend on the farm with us. They put on an impressive rocket show in the alfalfa field.
More than just a blue sky - a rocket is there!

All in a Day

Today has been a productive and fun-filled Saturday.

The above picture features one of Mother's double-wave petunias which have now fully blossomed and adorn the top of the driveway, welcoming all visitors to the Angell homestead.

Hannah is quite the worker and spent the better part of the afternoon weed-wacking.

And, while Hannah weed-wacked, Dad mowed the lawn with Luke's Gravely mower.

Caleb passed the day working with Dad, playing with friends and swinging from the old maple tree at the farm.

Luke and Jacob spent the day working with Hans, building a skate ramp for the farm children.

Luke seizes any opportunity possible to use his miter saw.

Bentley stands in the lush green pasture land behind the house.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Always Time for a Study Break

Isaac and Nate are both excited that their first year of college is coming to a close. They both have many plans for the summer and are already thinking that it is going to go by too quickly. However, wishing for the summer has not stopped them from enjoying the last weeks of college.

Isaac waves from a tree at Ithaca Falls.

Isaac and the 2nd Floor Becker Boys pose in front of Ithaca Falls.

Isaac and Christian Fellowship friends, Eric and Neil, helped distribute water at a recent campus party.

Princeton almost hosts more barbeques than final exams. And Nate has a knack for making it to most of them. Nate is featured above sitting across from his friend, Ryan.

Nate & Co.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

From a Wise Mother

Whatever weakens your reason, whatever impairs the tenderness of your conscience, whatever obscures your sense of God, whatever increases the authority of your body over your mind, whatever takes away from your relish for spiritual things, that to you is sin, no matter how innocent it is in itself.
- Susanna Wesley to her college son, John Wesley

Joshua Harris had a timely and apropos article in the Boundless Webzine (Like to Watch ) challenging us to consider the applications of this wisdom to our cultural obsession with the media. His words are worth considering and the discernment that he suggests is worth practicing.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Celebration of a Marriage-to-Be

My childhood friend and graduate school roommate, Katherine, and her fiance, Justin, came for an engagement dinner tonight. They are planning to wed on May 26, so it is a very exciting time.

We went on a evening walk through the fields and went to the highest point on the farm to watch a slowly setting sun.

As has now become tradition, we played a modified version of the Newlywed Game. The one rule? The engaged couple always has to win. The question that won the award for facilitating the most laughter was a question asked to the men, "What would your "wife" say was the best gift that she got last Christmas?" Justin answered, "Her wedding ring." To which Katherine (above) went into shock because she had forgotten about the rings and written, "Snowshoes." Justin replied, generously, that if that was the truth, he would resolve himself to accepting that she would be coming down the aisle in snowshoes. Brides have indeed worn many embarrassing shoes under a wedding dress, but in all history, this could be a first.

Katherine and Justin treated the family to a delightful choral sing of "Brother James Air."

Planting Double-Wave Petunias

Mom's special planting project (See Growth Inside and Out) was fruitful. After much dedicated care, and some worrying, the double-wave petunias bloomed. Dad worked on planting the flowers by the road-side today, along with some new shrubs. Our old shrubs were eaten by the deer.

The Donning of the Swimsuits

Spring almost felt like summer today. Dad had promised Jacob, Caleb and Rebecca a special treat for excellence in mathematical studies. For his success, Caleb was awarded a Sprinkler Beach Ball. Apparently this is a very fun item to own when you are 8 years old.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Lessons Learned While Getting Bigger

When you are little, you like a lot of candy. When you are big, you like vegetables more.

When you are little, you like to travel. When you are big, you like to stay home.

When you are little, you like to play. When you are big, you like to think.

When you are little, you like to dream about the future. When you are big, you like to remember the past.

When you are little, getting email is novel. When you are big, a read Inbox is a rare feat.

When you are little, Christmas is exciting. When you are big, Thanksgiving is meaningful.

When you are little, naps are boring. When you are big, naps are priceless.

When you are little, you wish you could make your own decisions. When you are big, you wish others could make decisions for you.

When you are little, puddles are for hopping. When you are big, puddles are for avoiding.

When you are little, one dollar is a lot of money. When you are big, one dollar is pocket change.

When you are little, time goes slowly. When you are big, time passes very quickly.

When you are little, a great vacation includes an amusement park. When you are big, a great vacation includes a lake, a mountain and a tree.

When you are little, you ask, "Why do I need to know this?" When you are big, you ask, "Why didn't I ever learn that?"

When you are little, maturity is complimented. When you are big, youth is complimented.

When you are little and don't understand a lot, life seems simple. When you are big and understand more, life seems complicated.

When you are little, God is big. When you are big, God is even bigger.

Monday, May 01, 2006

A Beautiful May 1st

Hannah catches the last evening shadow.