Theological Term of the Week: Mid-Tribulationism

This week’s term: Mid-Trublationism – that form of eschatological doctrine which teaches that the coming of Christ for His saints will be after the first three and one-half years of the tribulation period has passed. 

Last week’s term: Pre-Tribulationism – That form of eschatological doctrine which teaches that Christ will come in the air for the resurrection of His dead saints, and the rapture of the living saints, before the tribulation period begins.

Leslie Anne: Tremendous at Twelve

Today, our precious Leslie Anne turns 12 years old. I have had an emotional few weeks as I have prepared for Lauren’s graduation, Mother’s Day, and now Leslie’s birthday. I am trying to keep this quote by Dr. Suess in mind as I have culled through photographs and reflected on the past: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” And I certainly am glad that these twelve years with Leslie have happened.

Leslie is my organizer – often my left-hand girl (I’m left-handed). She is detail oriented and has definite ideas of how her school or chores should be done. I can count on her to do a good job at any job.

Here are twelve photos of life with my sweet Leslie Anne:

Only One

Terrific Two

Thrilling Three

Fabulous Four

Fantastic Five

Sweet Six

Stupendous Seven

Enjoyable Eight

Notable Nine

Tremendous Ten

Elegant Eleven

Almost Twelve! Here she shows off her organization skills: my grocery cart has never been so perfectly arranged.

Leslie loves NCIS (as you can see in the last photo). She is quiet, strong, and sweet. She jokes that she is the “special middle child”, meaning her place is the most important because she is in the middle. She may be joking, but I am not when I say that without her, our family would not be complete. I don’t know what I would do without her spunk and spirit to add zest to my days. She is artistic, athletic, a great singer, and she has an awesome sense of humor.

These twelve years seemed to go by at light speed, but instead of mourning that they are over, I’ll just thank God that I got to live them.

I love you, Leslie! I hope you have a wonderful day and an exciting year!

Theological Term of the Week: Pre-Tribulationism

This week’s term: Pre-Tribulationism – That form of eschatological doctrine which teaches that Christ will come in the air for the resurrection of His dead saints, and the rapture of the living saints, before the tribulation period begins.

Last week’s term: Amillennialism – That form of eschatological doctrine which teaches that there shall be no millennial reign of Christ.

The United States Capitol

To tour the United States Capitol, you will need to get an appointment via your Representative or Senator. You must have photo I.D. and your reservation number with you, and you should arrive fifteen minutes early for your tour. You may have a purse and camera with you, but prepare to be searched. Something to note: You can also visit the House of Representatives and Senate chambers, but these require passes which are separate from your Capitol tour appointment. Be sure to secure these passes from your Representative or Senator once you arrive in D.C., or have them mailed to you before you leave home. You can go straight to the House and Senate galleries after your Capitol tour. There are strict rules about what you can take into the chambers, but they do offer a place to check prohibited items, so that’s a great help. No one under the age of six is allowed into the Senate gallery, so if you have young children, prepare to leave them with someone else or just don’t go to the Senate. The House is more relaxed about this, but they are very strict about noise. If you talk or if your infant cries, you will be escorted out by an usher.

We were able to see both galleries, but on a different day from our scheduled tour, because we didn’t know that separate passes were required. We went to our Representative’s office in D.C. and picked up the passes. Then, an intern had to escort us back to the Capitol and get new Capitol Visitor’s passes issued to us so that we had permission to be there. After that, we were free to stay as long as we wished. It was a blessing that we had such a long stay planned in D.C. so that we could fit in this extra trip.

We really enjoyed our tour of the Capitol. If we ever go back, we plan to also go up into the dome (only available through a Senator’s or Representative’s office). It’s an 18 story climb, but I think the view both inside and outside the dome would be worth it. Here are some photos of our visit:

Our approach! It’s a beautiful building. The dome was just refurbished in 2016.

Once you get all checked in, you stand in a line to see a short film about the history of the Capitol and the type of work that goes on inside these walls. Next, you file out and get in a line where you are handed a set of headphones with a volume control. Whoever decided to do this was a genius. Voices echo like crazy in these massive, marble halls so this is a huge benefit of the tour. You can hear your tour guide’s voice perfectly. Like I said, genius.

The first stop is the crypt, the place where Washington’s body was supposed to be buried. Notice I said “supposed to be”, because it never happened. The Capitol took thirty years to complete. By the time they were ready to place Washington’s remains here, Martha, who had agreed to have his body moved here when the Capitol was finished, had died, too. The family fought the government for they did not want his body moved here. It went back and forth for a while. Eventually, the state of Virginia stepped in and made a law saying that Washington’s remains were to never be moved. Ever. End of story. We now have an empty crypt at the Capitol. The roped-off area designates the center of the District of Columbia. The designers planned the entire city with the Capitol in the center. This spot determines whether you are in NW, SW, NE, or SE Washington, D.C.

The Rotunda is a lovely place. Here you will find great works of art depicting various scenes from our nation’s history. This is a painting of a very special moment in history: General George Washington Resigning His Commission, painted by John Trumbull. Washington could have kept his powerful position and even become a sovereign, had he so desired. By God’s grace, Washington was not a selfish or power-hungry man, and he freely gave back to the people the power they had granted him.

Here is another great moment in history, the signing of The Declaration of Independence, also painted by Trumbull. The Rotunda is extremely crowded, so getting clear photos was difficult. I apologize if some are blurry or, like this one, crowded with strangers. One exciting event was catching a glimpse of Vice President Mike Pence. I tried to snap a photo of him but didn’t get a good one. I did see him though, so that was a thrill. He is there often in order to break ties in the Senate, a problem that I wish we didn’t have.

The Capitol Dome is just gorgeous.

The painting at the top of the dome is called The Apotheosis of George Washington. He is ascending into heaven and being made a god or an angel. This image merges several myths with American history. It was interesting to hear our tour guide tell us what all of it symbolized. As much as I love history, it was a little disturbing to see how god-like Washington is made to appear in D.C. If Washington was a Christian, he most certainly wouldn’t want this type of attention; he would want God to get the glory. While I love our nation, I love God more and I look to Him as our nation’s hope.

Around the rim of the dome is this spectacular piece of art, depicting 19 scenes from our history. It is called a “frieze”. You can read more about it HERE

All through our tour of the Capitol from the crypt, to the Rotunda, to Statuary Hall, there were lovely statues placed all around. Our tour was very fast moving, so I didn’t get to take nearly the number of photos I would have liked to take, but I got a few. Here is one of Jefferson.

Statuary Hall is home to many statues which are donated from all fifty states. Each state may donate two statues, and there are only two rules: the person must be deceased, and the statue must be made of either bronze or marble. Congress can also commission statues to be made. They have done this many times. The tour guide said he estimated that there are around 500 statues in the Capitol!

Years ago, the representatives had their offices in Statuary Hall. As the nation grew, and more representatives were needed, they outgrew this space and the Capitol was enlarged. This is the spot where Lincoln’s desk once stood when he served one term as a U.S. Representative.

Here is the spot where John Quincy Adams’ desk once stood. In this spot, the acoustics are perfect to overhear someone speaking across the room. The curved ceiling bounces sound right back to this spot. Our tour guide demonstrated this by walking quite a distance away from us and whispering. He asked us to raise our hands if we could hear him.Despite the noise around us, we could all hear him whisper. Adams used to pretend to take naps at his desk when really he wanted to eavesdrop on his opponents.

Here is a statue from Indiana of Lew Wallace, author of Ben-Hur.

One of Oklahoma’s statues: Sequoya, the creator of the Cherokee alphabet.

Left to right: Lew Wallace (IN), Serra, Father Junipero (CA), Joseph Wheeler (AL), Sam Houston (TX), and Huey Pierce Long, (LA). To find out more about these statues, visit the Architect of the Capitol’s website HERE. You can see which statues are from your state and read about that person’s place in our nation’s history. It would make a nice addition to a state history study, also!

A partially blurry photo of Eisenhower’s statue.

Security was high while the V.P. was there, but it didn’t stop us from getting some photos outside, in two groups, of course. Here is take one.

And take two! Or maybe it was the other way around…anyway, you get the idea.

In order to get our Senate and House gallery passes, we had to visit another building, the Sam Rayburn Building. This is where many U.S. Representatives have offices. Our Representative, Tom Cole, has an office here. While we got our passes issued, we snapped a few photos:

Here we are outside of Congressman Cole’s office.

We couldn’t resist getting a photo with “the King” outside of the Las Vegas Representative’s office, which is just across the hall from our congressman.

One of Congressman Cole’s interns took us through a special tunnel to get back to the Capitol so we could get new passes issued. This tunnel features art from highschoolers in every state.

Here is some Oklahoma artwork.

It was in this tunnel that Terry saw, and spoke to, South Carolina Representative Trey Gowdy! He kindly returned our greeting. I only wish I had asked him for a photo. He looked busy, though, and we hated to disturb him. The kids said I went all “fangirl” over a Congressman. I guess they didn’t understand the depths of my nerdiness till now. (Sorry, kids.)

Unfortunately, no photography is allowed in either the House or Senate chambers, so I encourage you to plan a visit so you can see these beautiful and historic places. We were blessed to be able to see the House called into session and hear a few congressmen and women give short speeches. In the Senate, we heard three Senators speak. We hoped to witness a vote, which was imminent, but the kids were very tired so we couldn’t wait. It would have been exciting to see all the Senators present and see how a vote was taken. We heard Bernie Sanders speak, which was pretty cool. Matthew (age 6) was so worn out from all the walking, that he leaned his head on my shoulder and fell asleep while we sat in the Senate. An usher came over and told me to wake him up.

The Senate did offer each visitor a brochure with great information about the history and significance of various items. It pointed out famous desks (like Daniel Webster’s) and listed the jobs of the people at the front.

Here are some various photos we took after our gallery visits:

Lauren loves all things space-related (as you can see from her shirt) so she wanted to get a photo beside the statue of one of the Apollo XIII astronauts, Jack Swigert. If you’ve seen the movie, Apollo 13, then this man was portrayed by Kevin Bacon.

We also got better photos with the Capitol in the background. I like these better than the previous ones:

He probably will never see this, but I would like to thank Thomas Schneider from Congressman Tom Cole’s office for his help in getting our appointments and passes.

We stopped by the gift shop and picked up a few souvenirs, but the best souvenirs are the memories we made together as a family. As we prepare for Lauren’s graduation, I am reminded that each day is a gift. Each trip we take together is unique; it will never come again. I am savoring these moments, storing them safely in my heart.

Due to Lauren’s graduation and the events surrounding it, I will not be sharing a travel post for the next two weeks. I will be back soon, however, to share our visit to the Smithsonian Museum of American History. I hope you can join me. To be sure that you don’t miss a single post, please consider subscribing by email or following me on Facebook, Twitter, or Google +.

Thanks for touring with me.

My Book Bag: Upstairs at the White House

Last week, I wrote about The Residence, a book about life in the private quarters of the White House. I suppose I take “nerd” to the next level, because I often peruse the notes section of books, or read the bibliography listed in the back. In this case, The Residence quoted a book called Upstairs at the White House by J.B. West, more than once. A quick search of my library’s website revealed that they had the book.

It’s a pretty long book, almost 400 pages, but I found it to be even more interesting than The Residence! J.B. West was employed upstairs at the White House for about 30 years. He worked his way up the chain to become the Chief Usher – don’t let the title fool you – it’s an important job. The Chief Usher oversees all operations of the private residence of the White House, mostly dealing with the budget. The White House operates on a definite budget, and no President can overspend his share while in office. In fact, many things come out of the President’s personal money. For example, the President pays for all of his meals. Not state dinners, but any meals which are eaten by any person in the private residence. The President gets an itemized bill: one egg, two slices of cheese, one orange, etc. The food is purchased by White House staff who look like everyday citizens so that no one knows who shops for the President. This prevents outsiders from tampering with his food. I found this type of information fascinating since I had never considered how the President bought groceries! West shares how he had to tell several Presidents and First Ladies “no” due to budget constraints more than once. Not many people can claim to have done that.

This book begins with the very end of FDR’s final term in office and proceeds through the very beginning of Nixon’s term. Mr. West was good friends with Mrs. Kennedy and Mrs. Eisenhower, despite their opposing politics. Mr. West learned the tastes of each first family and worked to make sure the staff did all they could to make them feel at home. He viewed the White House residence as a place of escape for the first family, even though it’s located only one floor above the museum portion of the house, and is on the property of the President’s office, located in the West Wing.

If you want to get a great inside look into the White House of years gone by, this is the book for you. You will live through JFK’s assassination, his funeral, and the transition from Kennedy to Johnson from the eyes of one who saw it all unfold firsthand. You will hear about the many important guests that visited the White House, and about how life in the White House was for the children of these first families. You will also hear about the particular tastes of various Presidents: Johnson’s love of high water pressure in the shower and Nixons love of gadgetry, just to name a couple. And who knew that the intricacies of cleaning and decorating could make interesting reading? Well, I found it is when it’s happening at the White House!

In case you can’t tell, I highly recommend this book. If you can only read one book about the private lives of the Presidents, read this one. I have a few more titles on this topic on my “to read” list, but haven’t been able to locate copies yet. When I do, I’ll let you know.

Thanks for dropping by today! I hope you will enjoy reading Upstairs at the White House by J.B. West.

The Library of Congress

After our amazing tour of the White House, we went back to our vehicle which we parked at the Reagan Building. I got my purse and Nikon because I couldn’t have those items at the White House, and there is no storage area for items at the White House, either. If you have prohibited items with you, they will not let you place them somewhere for the tour, you just don’t get the tour. All of the walking and excitement got us very hungry. We manged to find a Starbucks which was inside of another building. We got some expensive coffee, two large muffins and an apple which we shared. We then headed for the Metro station for the first time.

Because it was later in the day, the Metro wasn’t crowded. I still gave the kids a good speech about staying together, not spreading out in the car (or we might not all get off together) and told them to be quick, quick, quick! We won’t mention the fact that I was so nervous that Matt told me I was hurting his hand as I held it, or that Mitchell said I grabbed his shirt from behind so hard that I stopped him from moving for a second…yeah, let’s not talk about that. The point is, we made our connections with no problem and the kids loved riding the subway.

We had a tour of the Capitol scheduled for 2:00 PM. We needd to kill some time before that, but we couldn’t stray too far from it either, or we would be late. It was thrilling to see that the Library of Congress was very close to the Capitol! With our love of books, and the experience our older children have of working in our local library, everyone was eager to go inside this massive, glorious, spectacular library.

And let me tell you, it was a booklover’s dream come true. I only ask that you take me back with you if you’re going, or if you know someone who works there, please have them hire me?!

Oh, excuse me…*ahem* Where was I?

As we walked up to this impressive structure, I wanted to get a group photo of everyone in front of the building – well, it would be in two groups. I was snapping away when a kind security guard offered to take the photo of all of us together! How sweet of him! It would be one of very few.

Thank you, Mr. Security Guard!

Here’s a closeup of part of the outside of the building.

Once inside, we were completely blown away by the amazing architecture and elaborate sculpture everywhere. I mean, just look at this!

This is the entrance!

Ornate mosaics covered the ceilings. I just love Longfellow, so I took a photo of his “section”. Many famous American  poets and authors are represented in this way.

This is the former office of the Librarian of Congress (which, interestingly enough, is a lifetime appointment!)

I would love to see the Librarian’s current office.

The awards earned by composer and conductor, Marvin Hamlisch, who died in 2012.

There was an area of the library dedicated to Bob Hope which had many interesting artifacts from his life. This is the Medal of Freedom that was awarded to him by LBJ.

Next, we headed to the Children’s Reading Room! The halls were absolutely gorgeous.

Flat Stanley was at the Library of Congress! My mom read that book aloud to the kids a few years ago during one of her visits.  They were so excited to see him!

This was above the door in the Chidlren’s Reading Room.

Leslie is standing in part of the children’s area.

A Harry Potter book in Braille! This is part one of four parts.

Laci and Matt gave a little puppet show in the Children’s Reading Room. There was also a small table with coloring pages and crayons available for visitors.

There was a display of ancient Bibles. We couldn’t pass up getting a photo of these national treasures.

Laci and I with a bust of Jefferson. He donated his personal library to start our Library of Congress.

I could have stayed in the Library all day gazing at the walls and ceilings. Here are just a few photos of the majestic building. These really don’t do it justice, so I hope you can visit (or have already been able to visit) in person.

From the second floor, looking straght across.

The carving above the door says, “The chief glory of every people arises from its authors”. Sayings were carved above every window and door.

From the main lobby area, first floor, looking above to the second floor.

The main staircase. Amazing.

Looking up at the ceiling from the first floor.

What a lovely word to have on the ceiling of the Library of Congress!

The oldest three children were allowed to browse on their own, while Terry and I had the two youngest with us. We all saw the same things, just not necessarily together. Everyone was able to see the main exhibit which was Thomas Jefferson’s personal library! The books were marked with ribbons. Green ribbons indicated a book that Jefferson actually owned and touched; brown ribbons were books that he had owned, but the library did not have his personal copy, so they purchased an original to replace the missing volume. Some books were out at other exhibits or were being restored or used, so the spaces were marked for that as well. The only complaint I have was that the room was stuffy. An usher who was supervising the area told me the air conditioning had gone out and was being repaired. The lights were low, and the glass caused all kinds of reflection problems when taking photos; and of course, no flash photography allowed. I did get a few pictures, though.

Behold! Thomas Jefferson’s library! *insert excited shriek here*

It’s not every day you get to see the books owned by the second governor of Virginia, the author of the Declaration of Independence, first Secretary of State, second Vice President of the United States, third President of the United States and the founder of the University of Virginia!

This is one of the sayings on the wall that I liked.

This one is my favorite saying of the ones I read.

After we toured the Library, we had to save a little time for lunch before our 2 PM Capitol tour. We learned that there is a restaurant at the Library of Congress, so we walked about 17 miles (slight exaggeration) through tunnels that lead from one building to another, rode an elevator, and somehow ended up on the fourth floor of a building where there was a large cafeteria. It was quite an expensive meal, that’s for sure. D.C. has you over a barrel (as my dad used to say) when it comes to eating establishments. The fast food places are on the outskirts, or inside high-rises, like the Starbucks we visited earlier that day, so they are hard to get to. If you’re on a schedule, you either must go hungry or pay the price. It was, however, very good food and a great view of D.C. After re-fueling, we were ready to trek out of there and on to our next destination: the United States Capitol!