My Little Scientist

Lauren, who is in tenth grade, has enjoyed her biology experience. This is a huge relief to me. I admit that I have been more than a little nervous about high school science.

I thought I’d share a few photos of my “little” scientist at work for our loved ones far away. Be warned, one photo is a graphic image of an earthworm dissection. Scroll at your own risk!

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We purchased a microscope for her Apologia Biology course. Lauren has enjoyed using it. I have to say that one reason I love homeschooling is that I get to have all kinds of new experiences. I had never touched a microscope before this, (as I think I’ve mentioned previously) so this has been fun for all of us.

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She got a lab coat to protect her clothing during experiments; she got the mask because she is sensitive to the smell of formaldehyde. The gloves are to protect her skin from the chemicals. Doesn’t she look adorable? (Don’t tell her I said that!)

WARNING: Following photos contain a dissection. . .

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It was a bit disgusting. But we are learning, and that’s what it’s all about.  Thanks for reading. I hope you all have a happy weekend.

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Vintage Valerie: The Glass Cake Plate

This week, I broke a lovely glass cake plate that I have had since our wedding shower, in 1997. Mrs. Leah Collins and Mrs. Tanya Croy organized the shower that my church hosted for me. The cake plate was a table centerpiece decorated to look like an ice bucket, holding bottles of “wine” (bubble bath and bath beads). I have only four photos  of my wedding shower – that tells you about how times have changed! – and only one has the cake plate in it.

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You already know that I’m crazy-sentimental. That cake plate traveled with me far and near, to nine different houses, and five different states. I can’t count how many times I used it for us at home and for church functions. I am thankful for the possessions the Lord has given to me, because, well, HE has given them to me. Nothing is too small or too insignificant to give Him praise for. I am thankful for this gift of love from a friend so many years ago. I am thankful for the part it had in family memories. Here are two photos I have of the glass cake plate.

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Christmas Poke Cake, which I have made almost every Christmas for many years. This photo is from 2009.

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Many, MANY birthday cakes over the years. This is Matthew’s 2nd birthday, 2012.

It served its purpose well, and I now put it to rest, with a grateful heart.

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A Day at the Capitol

On February 10, we were able to join other homeschoolers from around the state for “Homeschool Day at the Capitol”. It was an opportunity to meet with our state legislators and let them know we appreciate their work, as well as give our opinions on any legislation that might affect homeschooling in the state of Oklahoma. There were over 3,000 homeschoolers present that day, and I know there were thousands more that could not attend.

Our first stop was the House of Representatives. Homeschoolers were recognized from the floor by their respective representatives and a special citation was awarded to one of our state homeschool group leaders.

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A selfie in the House of Representatives gallery.

Because we are involved in our county Republican party, we already knew some of our local representatives. Our state representative, John Michael Montgomery (not the singer), greeted us in the gallery and invited us for a photo op in his office. I took a few pictures while we waited for him.

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It was a busy day for everyone, so I only got these photos with my phone.

The highlight of the day, and the main reason we left the house at 6:30 that morning, was hearing Dr. Ben Carson speak at the big rally. I was really thankful for my handy-dandy zoom lens, because we were not that close to the podium. I had to stand on tiptoe and hold my breath to capture the following images:

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I was especially enthralled with hearing Dr. Carson in person. He has been a hero of mine since I read his autobiography when I was fifteen years old. He inspired me to do my best, set goals and work toward them, and to keep reading. If you have not read his book, Gifted Hands, I highly recommend it. I’ve seen the movie. The book is better.

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Yes, Matt fell asleep on my coat during the rally! Laci and Leslie were wishing they could go to sleep.

We had to stand for two hours to hear Dr. Carson. By the time it was over, my kids were ready to go. They had been so good while we toured the building and waited for the rally, I just couldn’t ask them to wait even longer while I got Dr. Carson’s autograph. We also still had to make the 1.5 hour drive home in time for piano lessons. It was still wonderful to be so close to someone I admired. Maybe one day I can get him to sign my tattered copy of his book.

Here are some random photos from the Capitol itself. It’s a beautiful building!

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It was a blustery day, so I only managed to get a few outdoor photos. We hope to go back and take a more leisurely stroll through the building and soak up more history. It was a great opportunity to expose our children to how our state government works, and to encourage them to make a difference. The men and women who make our laws are not special. They are hard-working and driven, but they are just regular Americans who took an interest in politics and decided to get involved. So should we all, in some way or another. It isn’t hard to give a few dollars toward a campaign, to make some phone calls or to stuff some envelopes. It certainly isn’t hard to vote, which we should all do. We are so blessed to live in a free country! I want to do all I can to make it even better for the next generation.

Thanks for tagging along with us to the “City”.

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A Boy and His Dog

After our Bible Conference ended, we were able to enjoy some pleasant weather. I’ve learned during my brief time here, that Oklahoma weather, is unpredictable. Last winter, we had severely cold temperatures that lasted for weeks. We also had several snow days. This year, it’s been more temperate. We actually have had some days reach the seventies! In February! The kids wasted no time in getting outside to enjoy the sunshine.

One day, I noticed that Matt was playing with our dog, Libby. Libby has been in our family since Lauren was two years old. Terry rescued her when someone abandoned her at his workplace. The vet said she was a mix breed and that she was about two years old when we got her. That means Libby is about the same age as Lauren – 15! That’s old in dog-years. I’m not a “pet person”, (I’ve always been a city girl) but Libby was a very good watchdog in her younger years, and she’s been a great playmate for our children. She has also helped the kids learn responsibility since it is their job care for her.

Here are some adorable photos of Matthew (says the completely unbiased mother – wink, wink) and our dog. Oh, and please forgive Matt’s outfit. The coat is too small, or the shirt is too big, I’m not sure which. He dressed himself that day. I do get points for letting him become independent, right? Hello? Anybody there?

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I just *love* my children.

And the dog.

But I love them more. :)

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Bible Conference 2015

The old saying is trite, but true: better late than never! Our Bible conference was January 30-February 1, 2015 and I’m just now getting around to posting about it. I began my series on “Verses I Love” on February 1st, and I hated to share more than one post a day. I don’t want to overstay my welcome with the few readers I have!

I deeply appreciate those who read my post about the conference and prayed for the Lord’s blessings on the meeting. God answered those prayers in the affirmative. He also answered several needs of folks in our church. One man had eye surgery, and another had a stint put in his heart. The operations were a success and both people have made great recoveries.

The messages brought by Bro. Adam Nixon, Bro. Royce Smith and Bro. J.C. Fulton did a work on my heart.  As my husband and I rested our sore feet after the final “Amen” was said, we couldn’t help but agree that meeting was blessed in a special way. “I feel like I’ve had a revival in my heart.” Terry told me. “I feel the same way!” I said. The messages all complemented each other beautifully, and none of the speakers discussed their sermon topics with each other. The Lord was in this place.

Here are a few photos of the conference:

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Bro. Royce Smith, pastor of Bethel Baptist Church, Choctaw, Oklahoma. It was a blessing to hear his message on the church. I enjoyed visiting with his wife, Mrs. Pat, whom I’d never met before. There are some great people in Oklahoma!

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I only got one photo of Terry at the pulpit, and it was while he was introducing our good friend, Pastor J.C. Fulton of Coweta Baptist Church in Coweta, Oklahoma. There are some people that you just feel like you’ve known forever, and Bro. and Mrs. Fulton are two such people. Bro. Fulton preached on the holiness of God and forgiveness. Two sermons that I needed very much.

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Bro. Fulton always blesses us because he has a genuine walk with God.

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Here are some preachers that came to the Bible conference. L-R: Bro. Adam Nixon, Rome, Italy; Pastor Terry Basham, II; Bro. Royce Smith; J.C. Fulton; Bro. Mikal Smith, Joplin, Missouri.

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A group photo of the men who preached for us.

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Of course, no conference can be complete without some good cookin’. We appreciate the marvelous ladies who brought delicious food to the conference.

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A photo of our auditorium as people came in for the conference. We were excited to have so many guests with us.

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Terry with Bro. Adam Nixon.

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We were especially thrilled to have Bro. Adam Nixon with us. Bro. Nixon is a British man living in Rome, Italy, so he had quite the trip to get to southwest Oklahoma! This was his first trip to this part of the U.S., so Terry took him to see some sites nearby. He was able to see buffalo at the Wichita Wildlife Refuge, parts of Ft. Sill, and Geronimo’s grave. We also enjoyed having him in our home. The kids riddled him with questions about England and tried out their British accents on him.  He blessed us with snacks and goodies from Rome, too! Matthew wasn’t too happy to have his picture taken, but he really did enjoy having “Adam” (as he called him) with us. Most evenings, Matt would ride with Terry to get Bro. Nixon from the hotel. When we were getting ready for Wednesday night church after Bro. Nixon had left, Matthew said, “Dad, don’t we have to get Adam?” It took a while to make him understand that Bro. Nixon was all the way back across the Atlantic now. The Internet and air travel make the world seem much smaller than it really is.

Bro. Nixon has started a blog where you can hear audio or watch video of his preaching. You can find it by clicking HERE. He would love to hear from you, so please let him know if you drop by and visit. He is a very gracious and humble servant of the Lord. His ministry will be a help to your Christian life.

Thanks, again, for the prayers for our ministry here in Oklahoma. We have some amazing people who joyfully give, love and serve to further the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. There are no words to describe the blessing these Oklahomans have been to me. If you’re ever in these parts, please look us up.

With love,

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Vintage Valerie: Cute Little Leslie

While doing some digging through old photo files, I uncovered these adorable pictures of Leslie Anne. This was taken right after we moved to Hope, Arkansas, to pastor Grace Baptist church. This photo was taken on May 16, 2008, the day before Leslie’s third birthday. I loved her cute blonde bob and this Western outfit that her Grandma Basham found for her somewhere. Of course, she is a lot like me: STUBBORN. So when I asked to take a photo of her, this was the reaction I got:

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Oh well. I still love it! And I love her, no matter how saucy and stubborn she is.

She has grown a lot since this photo was taken, outside and inside. She trusted Christ as her Savior on November 21, 2014. Even before that, I saw a more tenderhearted spirit begin to blossom within her. The Lord has had to do (and is still doing) a work on my own stubborn heart. I pray He will do that same work upon Leslie – and each of our children.

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Today, Leslie is my little helper, organizer and planner. She loves to clean and play with Barbies. And when I want to take her picture, she’s a willing subject.

Thank you for reading.

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To Those Who Write about Modesty

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Modesty is a hugely popular subject online these days. Blog posts run the gamut. Some take a broad look, some are more specific, like the recent surge in articles about yoga pants. Those who know me in real life, know that I can be *ahem* a tad bit opinionated. It may be hard to believe, but I really do try to think before I speak, and write, so that my words will be edifying and encouraging. I have refrained from writing about modesty because, frankly, it’s none of my business. I am confident that the same Holy Spirit Who is working on me, will also work in the lives of other believers. I leave Him to do that work. But I do have a few thoughts for those who are daring enough to tackle the subject.

If you’re going to write about modesty, please don’t be too descriptive. I recently read an article on yoga pants by a man who was, in my opinion, rather risque in his description of the problem. I asked my husband if he had read that particular article. He said no. I said, “DON’T!” Discussing the issue in such a vulgar manner only compounds the problem. Mental images can be just as destructive as visual ones.

If you’re going to write about modesty, be sure you never change your standards. After all, you’re setting yourself up as the standard. So, if you back down or change your mind for any reason, then you’re a hypocrite. I suppose you could go back and delete those posts from the Internet, but you can’t delete them from people’s minds.

If you are the standard, then you have replaced Christ. If you are bothered because another woman (who may not be a Christian, or may be a young Christian, for all you know) is dressing wrongly, then you believe that you’ve become the example to follow, not Christ. By the way, is the sin of your anger or pride any worse than the sin of her immodest clothing?

If you have given up a type of clothing or a style of dress as unto the Lord, then that is between you and Christ. Why would you expect others to share in your personal relationship with Christ? It’s. . .well. . . personal! According to 1 Timothy 2:9, modesty is about behavior. In fact,that’s what the Greek word for “modest” means, “of good behavior”.

A friend told me as a teenager, “My parents said your skirt is immodest. It cups under when you walk.” My face grew warm and humiliation covered me from head to toe. I certainly never intended to wear anything too tight. My parents were very strict about clothing and they had seen me leave for church that night. They had said nothing. But this friend thought that she, and her parents, were the standard. They may have been modest outwardly, but their rancid, bitter spirits bubbled over in spite of their exterior cleanness. Remember, the Pharisees looked great on the outside, yet Christ told them plainly, “ye are of your father the devil.” (John 8:44)

When I was a young mother, a pastor’s wife pulled me into a Sunday school classroom and informed me that my four-year-old daughter was dressed immodestly for a church activity. She was wearing culottes (split skirt), which had a crotch, and were therefore extremely immodest. {Chapter and verse for that, please?} During our thirty minute drive home, I stared out the window weeping. My husband was speechless. I sobbed after I got home. There I was, doing all I could to BE modest, and yet I was still being charged with immodesty! These many years later, I can see that, in reality, she was immodest. Her behavior was not right. She had allowed pride to control her spirit to the point she had to reach out with bony fingers and control others.

Jesus says in Matthew 7:3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Proper teaching on modesty is needed. I have read a few blog posts about modesty that stayed within the context of Scripture. We do need sound teaching on this subject, but the source should be the local New Testament church from a pastor who has a name and face that you know.

Do you wonder what you should wear? Search the Scriptures. Ask your husband, as the Word of the Lord says in 1 Corinthians 14:35. Avoid the women who are all-too-eager to share their thoughts. They might be giving their opinion instead of Bible. Seek wisdom from the humble women, the women who are truly modest.

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*I would like to thank my husband, Terry Basham, II, for his counsel regarding this article.