IMG_1521 Today is an historic day for these united stated of america.  Our congress has agreed that we shall not be ruled by a tyrannical king nor any man.  We believe that God should be our ruler, as He is the creator of the universe and of nature.  God has created us with equal rights of life, liberty and property (changed to Happiness in the final draft) and that governments are instituted among men to protect these rights; deriving their power from the consent of those governed.

To this cause and with the protection from God, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

My prayer for my children is a deep understanding of the above concept and be able to know how it is radically different than any other government structure, past or present.

So today we celebrate our county’s independence from England and for establishing a government under the radical idea that God is the leader and that free people can self-govern under God’s direction.  This begins the great “American Experiment.”

img_1458-2016-06-12-09-30.jpg Today, I George Washington, met with two of my very capable and influential leaders, Samuel and John Adams. We reviewed why our forefathers, the Separatist Puritans (the Pilgrims) came to this country to escape religious persecution and tyranny of the Kind of England. I then discussed how the King has now begun to impose his will on the colonies of America in a fashion not in the best interest of the colonialists.

The topic of current urgency today was the matter of the King sending his officers to harass and steal from the colonialists, clearly a show of the Kings superiority on our people.

While it was suggested to take up arms against the Kings men, we all realize that the Kings army would show no mercy toward the colonies for any of this type of insubordination. So we shall use all diplomatic processes at our disposal to resolve this matter.

We shall promptly get a committee together to meet with the Kings representatives and discuss this matter.

images-2016-06-10-21-36.jpg Last summer our history lesson/role playing was on the Pilgrims. It only lasted a few weeks, but the girls still talk about it. So this year, we are role playing the period leading up to the Declaration of Independence.

Everyone knows that the main reason for the Revolutionary War was taxation without representation….or was it? This summer, we will find out.

wpid-img_23011-2015-07-16-11-19.jpg During the Pilgrims trip to the New World a baby was born on the Mayflower. On the (real) Mayflower, the baby’s name was Oceanus, on our trip, the baby’s name is Isaac Matthew.

wpid-thanksgiving-2015-06-15-17-091.jpg After months of prayer and fasting for a new home, God has delivered us to a safe place where we can live, work and worship. So, today we give thanks (thanksgiving) to God for safe travels to our new home in Holland.

Teaching lesson: there wasn’t just one Thanksgiving. In Christianity there is a cycle of prayer and fasting for a solution, when God delivers the solution we then give thanks aka thanksgiving…and we don’t eat turkey at every thanksgiving!

wpid-img_0476-2015-06-9-11-22.jpgWe fear for our lives. King James men know that we are worshiping within our homes and, while we continue to move our worship in different locations, we fear that one day soon, they will find and in prison us.

I have heard that the low countries allow freedom of worship. In the morning, we shall pack our things and be off to Holland. This move is a cross that I must bear, for I know that my home is not of this world, but of Heaven (1).

In this new land, they will not speak English but Dutch. So we must learn their language. Homework for this week, learn where Holland is and basic Dutch greetings:

  • Hallo (“HAH low”) – Hello
  • Goedemorgen (“KHOO duh MORE khen”) — Good morning
  • Dank u wel (“dahnk oo vel”) — Thank you very much
  • Alstublieft (“ALST oo bleeft”) — Please or if you please (formal)
  • Hoe gaat het?  (hoo ghaat het) — How are you?
  • Heel goed (hayl ghoot) — Very well

(1) Hebrews 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

wpid-imgres-2015-06-7-10-14.jpgKing James men found out that we were worshiping on the Sabbath in my (Wm Bradford) house and were coming to arrest us. We fled to another person from our congregations house and proceeded to worship. We must make plans and be prepared in case we are forced to leave our homeland.

Homework – make a list of things that we want to take with us if we were forced to leave Scrooby from the persecution of King James

wpid-bradford_w-2015-06-7-10-07.jpgScooby, England 1607, the house of William Bradford. I, William Bradford, will henceforth be your narrator of the trials, tribulations and victories of the Puritan voyage to America.

King James has decreed that everyone in England must attend his church (the Church of England). While we think that the Church of England is fine, it’s not the way that we want to worship God. So we are going to meet at my house on the Sabbath for worship.

wpid-images-2015-06-7-09-54.jpgSummer is my favorite time of year. The girls have freedom from their otherwise strict schedules, the days are longer and, most importantly, summer learning begins.

This year we were blessed with health during the school year. Sara missed only a few weeks of school during the year so ended the third grade ready for fourth. Sophia had a great year of kindergarten and seems to be ready for first grade.

The last few summers I’ve had to cram to get the girls ready for their next year of school, but this year, we have the luxury of time. We now have the freedom to learn for fun not out of necessity to catch up. So, this year I am adding history to our curriculum.

This summer we are going to experience the life of the Pilgrims (Separatist Puritans) and their journey to America. We have 8 weeks to role-play the decisions, obstacles and victories of the Puritans as they left their homes in Scrooby, England through establishment their settlement in Plymouth. We have books to read, budgets to make and, most importantly, hats to wear.

So now, we’re off to Scrooby, England 1607….

2014-11-09 21.00.12As a kid growing up, I learned the usual Bible stories; Noah and the Arc, David and Goliath, Adam and Eve, Moses and the Ten Commandments, etc.  It wasn’t until I was an adult that I figured out how all of these pieces fit together in the bigger God story. 

Now as a parent, my challenge is how do I give my children a better understanding of the Bible than I had?  How do I make it relevant to them at an early age?  For nearly two years, I prayed, planned and discussed methods; then one day it hit me. The inspiration for my lesson plan came from one simple word:  “context”. 

Context was the missing element from my youth.  “Great, David killed a giant thousands of years ago…so what?  Did that happen before or after the flood?  Was Moses around to see the battle?  Why were there giants around anyway? “

My thought is that context comes from understanding God’s relationship with His people over time (i.e on a timeline).  When Adam and Eve were living happily in the Garden, the relationship between God and man was “perfect”.  When they rebelled, man’s relationship with God was “cursed.”  As Moses brought the ten commandments, man’s relationship took a step up to “the law.”  Then Jesus came to redeem us from the curse and move us beyond the law into a relationship of “grace.” 

Knowing the “hot points” on the timeline (Adam and Eve, Moses, Jesus) and our relationship with God (perfect, curse, the law, grace), we are then going to fill in the blanks of the story.  Moses freed the Israelites from Egypt…why were the Israelites slaves in the first place?  So we will spend a couple days studying Joseph to answer that question. But we will also note that the story of Joseph happened while we were still under the curse…before the law. 

Being a visual learner (and teacher), I have put together the mother of all Biblical foam board timelines on my office wall.  As we learn a story or a part of a story the girls help me  put pictures and key words on the timeline to help us remember the significant points of the story (tactile learning). 

For instance, today we studied the young Moses.  We made a special note of Miriam (as we are going to highlight women of the Bible) and the burning bush.  Under a picture of the burning bush we put “you are chosen.” 

I hope to blog updates of our progress as we muddle through this process, hopefully getting better and having more fun learning about the Bible.

As my girls and I work on this big God story together, I pray that over time, the understanding of God’s love for us, which began at the beginning of time and has never stopped, will be tattooed on their hearts.  And that time we spend together talking about God, in the presence of God, will deepen their knowledge of their daddy’s love for them as well. 

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