Hello from a mom that is feeling incredibly blessed. So rich.

Today is my dear husband’s 57′th birthday. He is, bar none, the kindest, most loyal, sincere, and just plain good man I have ever met. Today for his birthday, while he repaired our old dishwasher all day, he wanted me to spend the day getting to Isaac’s college application things (like transcripts, and extra curricular activities and achievement lists etc. ) that have been concerning me so much as they built up and got stuck waiting on my desk. Daddy arranged (which means we also owe a great debt to Becky and Liesl for the day’s opportunity to work down here! Thank you Becky and Liesl!) for Isaac and I to hide away down here in the basement all day. Working away.

We have had a wonderful time. Good talks. Solid decisions, and lots of progress. I have three growing, nearly completed, stacks of papers, neat little packages, one each for Grove City, Geneva, and Cedarville all nicely printed out. Writing sample, reading list, records form other schools Isaac took courses from etc., each item neatly and consistently designed and laid out. I have yet to do a set of course descriptions to accompany our transcript, but none of the colleges asked for this and Isaac and I decided not to bother making an official professional looking document for course descriptions but only to make a clear “working” one for Isaac to have and to review before he goes for his interview at Grove City in case they want to discuss his transcript with him.

It will feel heavenly to put stamps on these three big envelops and send all this off! I had forgotten how intense college application time could be. It’s like forgetting how intense the time with newborns can be if you have a big gap between babies.

I have been wanting to post on here for a while. I have enjoyed all your posts very much.

Jesse, I really loved what you shared from last week about the sermon. Particularly this part:

“These two verses illustrate so vividly how God piles up one redemptive act upon another as he makes a way for us to know Him, gives abundant reason to rely upon Him and finally demonstrates clearly the desperate need that we have for God himself to provide the final fulfillment and accomplishment in Christ.”

That meant so much to me.

Kevin and Jessica I have been thinking of and praying for you guys wondering how completely Jessica recovered from the pneumonia and how you are feeling now, getting so close to the time… Hope you are doing better! Sorry about work being rough. We are always using Sadie talk around here. “more (with our fingers) prunes” for raisins. 🙂

Katie and Joel, I am SO SO GLAD to have you back here!! It made me cry to see little Talia on the web cam the other morning. It was SO NEAT to have her talking with us here in the basement! Thank you for getting Internet! We love having that connection with you! Maybe we can watch Micah pee! 🙂

This cold weather has been incredible. We are using up our here-to-for-thought-to-be-vast wood supply very rapidly. Big fire roaring both in basement and upstairs for days now. The pipes in the apartment (gathering room) froze. We forgot about them. Icicles were hanging out the kitchen sink spigot.

No more news from Luke. They had a day river rafting and elephant riding and are up in the mountains now doing something at two schools. We heard that several of them had a bad flu and nausea… Don’t know if Luke was among those. Pray them well, safe, and home… They say the missionary conference went awesomely well.

I better get back to work. This was a lovely break.

I have permission from Bump to share this Grove City College application essay he finished this afternoon. Enjoy.

Have a blessed Sabbath day tomorrow.

Please answer the following question in a one page essay (approximately 600 words):

What experiences and/or relationships have helped to develop your moral values?

The Way to Go

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6

In and of itself, every moral-shaping experience is meaningless, void of use or purpose unless

there is an ultimate Truth on which morals can be based. Each experience and relationship I could write

about here has been used by God, who is Truth and embodies Good, to make me who I am. Without

God, no moral-shaping experience would have any real meaning to me. Not only did he create me, save

me, and give my life significance, but he has given me the chance to have a personal relationship with

him. No relationship has had a greater effect on my life than the one I have with my creator and savior. I

realize those words are applicable to many, not just to me, and I do not state them to avoid details or

stick to generalizations; I state them to put this essay in perspective. My moral values are nothing but

my best understanding of God and who he is. Thus, all relationships and experiences that have helped to

form my moral values, those hours of malaria induced deliria, my friendship with Joel, watching the

tragedy of Uncle Jerry’s drug addiction drama unfold, were simply altering—hopefully improving—my

understanding of who God is.

Now that I’ve given a perspective from which to view the rest of this essay, I’d like to tell you

about an
old friend who showed me the way to go—a friend my father introduced me to so long ago I’ve

forgotten our first encounter. I haven’t seen this friend for some time, though he’s still around, and I

must admit I’m glad to be rid of him, though I thank God for his presence in my life. Now and again I

hear him spending time with my little sisters. The thought makes me sad and happy all at once.

Though I dreaded his company and winced at his name, The Spanking Stick taught me much

about life and played a crucial role in my ethical development. When I was small, he showed me there

were consequences for my actions. I could not live life as I pleased. Over time, I began to learn that

there were two types of actions—good ones, and bad ones—and that I was to stick to the good ones, or

I’d get spanked. Still, living something out does not inevitably ensue knowing it and I strayed across the

boundaries fairly often. It was then that I would make my visit to The Spanking Stick.

Thankfully, my parents oversaw all interactions between The Spanking Stick and me and were

always ready to step in when The Spanking Stick was lost for words. Without fail they would sit down

with me before every spanking and calmly explain to me what I did to deserve it and why what I did was


I’m grateful for this fact. Without it, I would have been confused and frustrated by my meetings

with The Spanking Stick. Understanding why I had to go through with spankings made them bearable.

They still hurt. I still didn’t want them, but I understood why I had to have them and agreed, even then,

that I needed them. Due to these explanations, I never wondered why there had to be wrong and right

or why the two were sorted as they were. I was given answers to questions of that sort before I even

asked them.

Through my meetings with The Spanking Stick, as well as other spiritual training, I learned about

God and about the fall, about sin, and about the nature of sin, any act that goes against, or fails to

uphold God’s laws. I learned how God’s laws are a part of his nature, and how we can find ultimate

satisfaction by rejoicing in him and obeying his laws. I learned about the terrible punishment that sin

incurs—death and everlasting separation from God. I learned that I was born in sin—guilty at conception

as a natural descendent of Adam and Eve. Most importantly, I learned about the Gospel—about Jesus—

who saved me from the guilt I inherited, and from the guilt of my own sins that will never end in this life.

I learned how he humbled himself for my sake, lived a sinless life, died in my place serving as a

propitiation for my sins, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven where he intercedes for me


In short, God used the dreaded spanking stick—lovingly administered by my parents—to teach

me about him. My old friend was the first source of God’s loving disciplines in my life, launching me on a

path that God describes for us in Hebrews 12:11, “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather

than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by


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