Grace Notes

Homeschool Conferences

Sam’s Decision


After we spoke on brother/sister relationships at the conference yesterday, we noticed a boy named Sam (pictured above) standing next to our booth with a big smile on his face. His parents told us, “We gave Sam some money to buy something for himself at the conference. After going to your session, Sam decided to put what he learned into practice and buy a gift for his 2 older brothers.” It was cute to see Sam grinning, obviously pleased with his decision, and it’s a great reminder to all of us that it’s more blessed to give than to receive. 🙂

Homeschool Conferences

Arlington, Texas Homeschool Book Fair

It was a great day! We were exhausted afterwards, but we were all very encouraged by the people we talked to and the good reports we heard.

While Stephen was working at the booth, one lady came and picked up a Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends book off the stack. Turning it over and seeing our pictures on the back, she asked Stephen, “And which one are you?”

Another lady came up to the booth and picked up Before You Meet Prince Charming. “I’ve never heard of this book before” she told Sarah. Pointing to Sarah’s picture on the back she asked “Is she a famous author?”
When Sarah explained that it was her, the lady seemed quite embarrased.

Sarah and my Dad ate lunch with some homeschoolers attending the conference. After Sarah got up to leave, one girl commented, “You gotta be careful what you say around Sarah…she might write about it”.

After supper Dad and Stephen were glad to have some daylight left so they could play catch in the hotel parking lot.

Now we are all back in the hotel room getting ready for bed. Dad just shared a verse with us:
“I am glad of the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus… for they have refreshed my spirit and yours.” (1 Corinthians 16:17) We talked about how that is a great goal– to refresh the spirits of others.

Homeschool Conferences

Problems solved…

My dad and Stephen made it safely to Walmart! When the mechanics saw our tire, they were amazed. They had never seen a bulge in a tire that large.

We are grateful for how the Lord has taken care of us in the situation! The tire could have exploded as we were going 70 mi per hour down the interstate, but instead God allowed us to notice the problem when we were parked and get it fixed before it caused trouble.


Tire Trouble

About a half hour ago, Stephen came running in to our hotel room saying, “where’s the camera?” He wanted to take a picture of our van tire. Here it is:


Dad and Stephen just headed off to Walmart to get it fixed. They said they weren’t sure if the van would make it there or not…so…they could be gone a while! I wanted to go along for the adventure but Dad and Stephen didn’t think that was necessary. 🙂 I’ll post again later about what happens.

Family News/Homeschool Conferences

Our trip has begun!

After traveling 921 miles we finally arrived in Texas! Thankfully, we all like to ride in the van. Especially Sarah—she can’t get enough of it. Usually she’s disappointed when we arrive. Behind our van we are pulling a 24 foot trailor.

We will be on the road for a month, primarily traveling to 3 homeschool conferences (Texas, Mississippi, and Florida).

I am planning to post a picture a day, so those that are interested can keep up with what is happening. I may not always be able to post the picture on the day, but if I can’t I’ll post it the next day.

Well, the plan was to have everything in the van Monday night and leave in the morning. As usual, it didn’t happen that way. Since we didn’t leave until until Tuesday evening, we drove through the night. We stopped to sleep in the Walmart parking lot. Since we have 4 bench seats in our van, most of us were quite comfortable. Sarah slept on the floor. She said she liked it.

We made a stop this afternoon to drop off a box of Spanish “Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends” in Oklahoma City at “The Lighthouse”. A homeschool family, the Engles, bought an old building downtown that they are fixing up as a ministry center. Currently they are running a bookstore, coffee shop, Creation museum, and they provide appartments for missionaries to stay in. This week they are going to the Dominican Republic so they wanted to distribute the Spanish translation of our book there.

Stephen’s 22 Birthday!

Since I had some extra time in the van today, I put together some pictures from Stephen’s birthday. The actual date was the 16th, but we celebrated it just last week. To explain a few of the gifts you see here…

-Stephen has been mentioning for a while how he’d like a giant stuffed penguin. We found him one an hour before his party. 🙂 When my mom called the toy store they asked “Now how old is your son?” She said “Well, he’s actually 22…” We’re glad Stephen is still young and fun at heart. 🙂
-The sign he is holding says, “If it weren’t for coffee, nothing would get done around here.”
-My grandparents gave him a commentary of the Old Testiment by William McDonald
-Sarah ordered this white shirt for him to wear when he freelances for our local newspaper. The little caption in the corner says, “A wise man once said, ‘don’t forget to remove lens cap.’”
-In the middle is a picture of his German Chocolate Cake.


Valuable Assistance!

Top: Marie Briceland is printing envelopes; Chrissy Baskerville is processing orders.
Bottom: Nickie Biegler is designing a new Bright Lights brochure; my grandpa is labeling CDs.

We are leaving tomorrow for a “southern trip” to Texas, Mississippi and Florida (in that order). There is a lot to do because we need to prepare and pack materials for 3 conferences, put everything in order before we leave, and take care of a month’s worth of work here at home.

We are grateful for the help of Nickie and Chrissy, (who come over one day a week to help in the Bright Lights office) and the others who often join them.

My grandpa comes over faithfully four days a week and helps with whatever we need him to do. (He duplicates and labels CDs and DVDs, packages orders, helps us pack for our conferences and trips, etc.) He takes a load off our family by all he does. Since there has been an abundance of work recently, Grandpa has been getting here earlier in the mornings, and one day he got here at 4:30am!


Chinese Visitors

Ever since our family went to Hong Kong and China 16 years ago, we’ve always wanted to go back. Now we feel as if “China comes to us” –right into our home!

Last night was one of those “special occasions” as six Chinese computer engineers came to our house for dinner. They came to the States for a few weeks because they work for Rockwell International. We had a very nice evening together as we ate, talked, sang, took pictures, and gave them a tour of our house and “office house”. We gave them some books (Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends, and What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs ) and played our harps for them. They sang for us some popular and beautiful Chinese songs.

This isn’t the first time we’ve had Chinese computer engineers come to our home. Every few months we enjoy another delegation from China because we have a Chinese friend from Rockwell who lives in town and brings them over to our house.



My dad is opening a gift of special Chinese Tea

Homeschool Conferences

Kansas City Homeschool Conference

Setting up our booth

From set-up on Thursday to tear down Saturday night, our weekend at the Kansas City Homeschool conference was busy and eventful. We did 3 sessions, and felt that they were well-recieved. We arrived home today today.


Here is our booth, finally set up! 🙂


On Friday night, we were invited out to dinner by the Ward Family, who help host the conference in Kansas City. We enjoyed the fellowship and the good BBQ meal. Here’s the “kids” table.

Witnessing Stories

A Late Night Stop

Our family was on our way home from MACHE, the Minnesota Homes School Convention a few nights ago. It was about 11 pm.

“What’s taking Dad so long? He’s been in there a half hour!” I heard Stephen say to my mom.
“He’s probably talking to someone,” I remarked and went back to sleep.
When Dad finally returned to the van, he told us what had happened.

As he entered the gas station, instead of finding a bored-looking employee behind the counter, he was surprised to be greeted warmly by a bright and cheery junior high boy who was buffing the floor. “I hope the restrooms were clean! How far do you have to go?”
Dad made a few friendly comments in return, and then left. After taking about 10 steps out the door it hit him, “I should have given that kid a dinosaur booklet!”

As Dad re-entered the store, the boy shut off his buffer.
“Here, I thought you might be interested in this. We’re trying to reeducate the country. We don’t think we came from monkeys,” Dad said. (That’s the “standard line” Dad uses when he gives these little Creation Science booklets away.)
“Monkeys?” the boy asked, looking confused.
“We believe the Bible supports Genesis,” my dad replied.
“Genesis? What’s Genesis?” he asked.
“It’s the first book of the Bible,” my dad explained.
“Oh! I should have known that.” the young man answered. “I was just confirmed yesterday. Catholic, I think.”

Shocked, my dad realized he needed to say more.

He continued, “Well, the world wants us to think that we just came from nowhere, but the Bible says that God created the world. People don’t want to admit this because they don’t want to deal with God. But the truth is that there is evidence in every area of science that is consistent with—and supports— Genesis. Did you know that there are sea shells in the rock strata of every high mountain including Mt. Everest?

Now the boy was shocked. I’m not sure if he was more surprised by hearing about sea shells on Mt. Everest or by the fact that he was getting a science lesson from a customer at 11 pm.
“So how could the shells possibly get there?” my dad asked him. “The Bible says that there was a worldwide flood. And the geologic evidence all over the world indicates that the geology of this planet was formed by a flood. In every area of science, the evidence is consistent with the Bible and not with evolution.”

The boy smiled with what seemed to be eager interest. “The real issue is God,” my dad said, realizing that what he really needed right now was the gospel, not a science lesson.
“Whether Catholic or Protestant, we both believe that God created man and that man has sinned. That’s the heart of the matter. God wants us to live forever in heaven but we can’t because we have sinned. And being good alone isn’t the answer because we could never be good enough. We would have to be perfect, and that’s impossible.”

The boy agreed.

“The solution is that God needs to forgive us. But to do that, somehow sin has to be taken care of. If God punished us for our sin it would destroy us, so He can’t do that.”

Again the young man smiled and nodded in agreement.

So my dad said, “The only one who can receive God’s punishment and not be destroyed is God Himself! That is what the cross is all about. God created man, then became man so He could die for us. It’s actually really simple.”

At this point, having given him the basics, my dad switched gears. “You need to read the Bible,” my dad told him. “It would be good to start by reading John. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. It’s at the beginning of the New Testament.)

The boy went over to the counter, got a blank receipt from the cash register, and wrote “J-O-N.” He looked up, “Ok, and you said that’s in the New Testiment?” He wrote “N-E-W T-E-S-T-A-M-E-N-T.”
My dad was thinking to himself, “Boy, he really is a beginner! He still needs a lot more information, but I can’t stay and talk. Anyway, he’s supposed to be working. So he said, “Read the book of John and pray. Ask God to give you the eternal life He is talking about there in John.”

In addition to his friendliness, the boy also seemed serious and mature. Perhaps, even though he knew so little about spiritual things, he did have some interest in knowing the one true God (since he said he had just been confirmed the day before.) Perhaps the Lord was now providing some information to bring his knowledge equal with his interest. When one responds to the light he has been given, God will give more light.

The boy asked my dad a few questions about himself. “No I didn’t teach school,” Dad replied, “But we do try to help families. And we teach about God and the Bible. The Bible is our wisdom. It’s God’s book.”

Not wanting to overload this boy with too much to think about all at once, my dad left, reminding him to read John and pray about what he read. Our family has been praying for him.

Homeschool Conferences

At MACHE (The MN Homeschool Conference)


Here are Stephen and my mom working at our booth. The conference went very well. One thing I appreicate about homeschool moms is that they are very encouraging and easy to talk with! It’s a good thing, too, because after two days of explaining the same thing, I stop thinking straight!

Some answers we give over and over like, “The age range for Bright Lights is approx. 10-15” and “Yes, Sarah, Stephen and I actually do get along” (It’s not like really have a choice now, anyway 🙂 ) and “No, we don’t have material for boys (yet)” and “I know, Sarah doesn’t look 28, but she really is”.