Thursday, May 26

We're married!  (April 9, 2016)

Here's the link to all of our renovations work!

Buy our extra wedding stuff here:

Tuesday, December 15

Photos from Family Vacation to Las Vegas

December 9-13, 2015
Bellagio Hotel
Red Rock Canyon
Hoover Dam
The Strip

Saturday, November 14

Yes, We're Engaged!

Coming Soon April 9, 2016: Mr. and Mrs. Kyle Vernon!

Wednesday, October 7

Busy Summer...

...growing lots of zinnias
...harvesting 139 pounds of potatoes from the garden
...canning said potatoes
...starting a new bible study
...driving the Blue Ridge Parkway on Labor Day
...perfecting my cake decorating skills
...throwing a Christmas in July party
...crafting a lot a family reunion
...attending a wedding
...renovating the basement
...canning lots of pickles and salsa
...going to Colonial Williamsburg
...discovering Richmond restaurants
...rejoicing as friends get engaged and join the church
...becoming a leader with the American Heritage Girls
...putting our house up for sale

Friday, June 26

Late Spring/Early Summer 2015

Well, if you know me in real life then you know the particular reason why I've been busy these last few months. But, here's the rest of my life...

...finishing Mere Christianity in bible study

...going bowling for the first time and epically failing at it

...playing dominoes at church

...learning to play the psalms on the piano

...visiting the grandparents in Florida 30 church friends for a cookout and making these laborious creations

...celebrating my 21st birthday at the Smithsonian with my parents

...transplanting these seedlings - watching the tomatoes flourish and the broccoli falter

...digitizing 62 home movies

...growing cantaloupe for the first time

....making mulberry cobbler for the first time

...picking tons of zinnias


...making pickles

...going to Myrtle Beach for a few days with the family

Friday, May 22

Thank you Mike Huckabee for your honest statement

This statement from Mike Huckabee regarding the Josh Duggar issue perfectly fits my sentiments on the matter.

Statement from Mike Huckabee's Facebook Page: 
"Janet and I want to affirm our support for the Duggar family. Josh’s actions when he was an underage teen are as he described them himself, 'inexcusable,' but that doesn’t mean 'unforgivable.' He and his family dealt with it and were honest and open about it with the victims and the authorities. No purpose whatsoever is served by those who are now trying to discredit Josh or his family by sensationalizing the story. Good people make mistakes and do regrettable and even disgusting things. The reason that the law protects disclosure of many actions on the part of a minor is that the society has traditionally understood something that today’s blood-thirsty media does not understand—that being a minor means that one's judgement is not mature. No one needs to defend Josh’s actions as a teenager, but the fact that he confessed his sins to those he harmed, sought help, and has gone forward to live a responsible and circumspect life as an adult is testament to his family’s authenticity and humility. Those who have enjoyed revealing this long ago sins in order to discredit the Duggar family have actually revealed their own insensitive bloodthirst, for there was no consideration of the fact that the victims wanted this to be left in the past and ultimately a judge had the information on file destroyed—not to protect Josh, but the innocent victims. Janet and I love Jim Bob and Michelle and their entire family. They are no more perfect a family than any family, but their Christian witness is not marred in our eyes because following Christ is not a declaration of our perfection, but of HIS perfection. It is precisely because we are all sinners that we need His grace and His forgiveness. We have been blessed to receive God’s love and we would do no less than to extend our love and support for our friends. In fact, it is such times as this, when real friends show up and stand up. Today, Janet and I want to show up and stand up for our friends. Let others run from them. We will run to them with our support."

Friday, March 20

Exciting News!

I finally passed the medical coding certification exam!!!!!! After failing the first time by 1% I retook it 2 weeks later and passed by 12%! What a huge relief!

Monday, February 23

February Updates

Hey y'all, it's update time! First, thanks for the prayer for my grandmother - she's home from rehab and doing fairly well. Unfortunately she has digressed a bit physically, mentally and lost weight. We are thankful for every day she has with us.

This Saturday I finally took the medical coding test, which we travelled to Roanoke for, and will hear back results in a week of so. Needless to say, the last 2 months has included lots of studying!

Early in February my parents and I got the chance to visit my grandparents in Cape Coral, Florida for the week. We got to see Cirque de Solei and even enjoyed some pool time. Grandfather Ben stays busy with "retirement" - aka running a garage door business.

Someone from church loaned me a DVD set which I highly recommend - A Survey of Church History by Robert Godfrey put out by Ligonier Ministries. Ligonier's online mini-school/subscription based lessons through Ligonier Connect is wonderful! For only $9 and month, you have access to lots of courses and videos on a variety of historical and theological topics.

Spring planting time is coming soon! This year I'm starting the broccoli, peppers, and tomatoes indoors instead of direct sowing like normal. We had bad luck with broccoli worms last year and dry weather with the peppers, so I'm hoping to make up for lost yield this season. I'm also planning lots of Zinnias and even Baby's Breath which will be new. Someone suggested lettuce in containers this year so I'll try that also - hopefully it will be easier than the tedious hand weeding of lettuce that I went through last year!

Tuesday, January 13

Favorite Books of 2014

It's hard to believe another year has past! Peruse my list of the best book of 2014 and share your own favorites in the comments.

  1. ***Bloodline: You Spend Enough Time in Hell, You Get the Feeling You Belong by John Turnipseed***
  2. Folks, This Ain't Normal by Joel Salatin
  3. Why I Left The Contemporary Christian Music Movement by Dan Lucarini
  4. Don't Shoot: One Man, A Street Fellowship, and the End of Street Violence in Inner-City America by David Kennedy (not related to Michael Brown)
  5. Buying a House Debt-Free by the Maxwells
  6. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
  7. When You Rise Up by R.C. Sproul, Jr.
  8. The Man Who Moved A Mountain by Richard Davids
  9. Stumbling Along the Beat by Stacey Dittrich
  10. The Truth War by John MacArthur
*** Bloodline follows the true story of John Turnipseed, the founder of the infamous "Bloods" Gang and well-known criminal for over 40 years. With over 30 immediate male relatives incarcerated and 10 of those for 1st-degree murder, today he's a preacher and speaker on the irreplaceable role of a father.***

Monday, January 5

Grandma Update

After her fall on the 13th, my Grandma was moved to a rehab center where she will likely remain for another month (until they release her). She is VERY strong-willed and avoids those things that will help her healing. Every day is a battle of wills. The constant care we must give to keep her out of trouble is wearing thin. Therapy is going well, however she isn't eating enough and struggles with low spirits. Please pray 1) that the Lord would grant wisdom in presenting the Gospel to her, 2) that the Lord would sustain us mentally and physically, and 3) that she would listen to those trying to help her.

Monday, December 22

Please pray for Grandma!

My Grandma fell and broker her hip on the 13th. After surgery and 3 nights in the hospital, she will remain at inpatient rehab for at least a few more weeks. We need lots of prayers as we give constant care and deal with the emotional burdens.

Friday, December 5

What's New?

Somebody (you know who you are) requested that I post more 'updates' on what's been going on with me and my family. Since the original intent of my blog was to keep in touch with family and friends, I will oblige:

- In September we enjoyed going to the No Greater Joy Shindig in Black Mountain, NC. Over 2,000 people attended the conference/vacation put on by No Greater Joy. We heard great sermons, listened to bluegrass (yay!) and met some nice people from all around the country.

- The day we left for NC, my grandma had a minor stroke which subsequently required us to live with her in various capacities for over a month. She has returned to living alone but uses a walker, can't drive, and her general mobility is decreased.

- I'm enjoying the bible study at my church and the many activities that seem to be happening - a bonfire in Cumberland, day trips through Charlottesville, hymn sings, dominoes, and more!

- Big News! The 14th of this month I'm joining the church I've been attending since February! The day can't come soon enough, I'm so excited to officially join! For all you RVAers out there, it's All Saints Reformed Presbyterian - service is 10:45 so come on by!

- Getting to visit my best friends at William and Mary and UVA is wonderful! A good friend is hard to find and I'm thankful for high school friends that have stuck by me even though we've taken different routes in life.

- Going to the Family Economics Conference in Hampton in November was really a highlight of the season. Put on jointly by Generations with Vision (Kevin Swanson is awesome!) and HEAV, 2 days were spent discussing family business, mentorship, higher education, integrating business and homeschooling, engaging your children, marketing, and the integrated family economy in general. Even though my parents couldn't come, it was wonderful getting inspired by other families homeschooling their children in a debt-free, family business environment.

- We sold the river house! After 10 years in Deltaville, VA the house finally sold! We are sad to see it go, but we're moving into a new chapter in life.

- We had Thanksgiving at my grandma's house with 14 people! A neighbor brought wine and we aren't drinkers, so it was pretty funny. For Easter every year I organize a game/Easter Egg Hunt for the adults because there are no children in our family, well, last year I did a game/trivia for Thanksgiving and it was so popular that we did it again this year.

- This Winter we're converting the unfinished basement into a mother-in-law suite with patio to sell the house next Fall. We hope to build a new home next to my grandma.

- After one of Dad's customer's essentially offered me a job in the future, I'm studying for the medical coding certification exam. Essentially medical coding is taking all the diagnosis and procedure words (ex: COPD with asthma, fracture of the femur due to single vehicle car collision) and turning them into numbers for the insurance companies to reimburse doctor's offices and hospitals. I hope to take the exam in January or February, and Lord willing get hired in March. It's great because I can work from home, work part or full time at my own hours, gain medical knowledge, and learn a new skill.

- Black Thursday/Friday shopping this year was great! Grandma gave me Christmas money so I went out Thanksgiving night to get some deals. I don't like shopping on Thanksgiving, but we finish our gathering by 4pm, and I figure at the rate they're moving sales earlier and earlier, by next year the big deals will happen on Wednesday. My Granny (i.e. partner in shopping crime) also came and somehow we accidentally ended up waiting outside in line for JCPenny's and Target to open. I also went out early Friday morning to beat the crowds. All-in-all, got some fantastic deals and the crowds were pretty mild this year- probably because the sales are spread out all week.

- Grandma celebrated her 88th birthday on Black Friday - we're so thankful to have her alive and with us for another year.

- I've joined and am enjoying tracking the family way back. So far I've tracked one line all the way back to the mid-1600's in Augusta County, VA. Another line back to the late 1700's in Floyd County, VA. I found a relative who fought in the Revolutionary War and several in the Civil War.

Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!

Friday, November 21

Keep 19 Kids and Counting on the Air!

A petition is growing to get 19 Kids and Counting cancelled. The American Family Association is trying to get 1 million signatures on their petition.

Tuesday, October 7

Responding to Controversy: Public Schools, Single Moms, Churches and Private Schools

First let me state the facts:

I'm a K-12 product of the public school system.
I'm 100% convinced that homeschooling is the way I want to educate my children one day.

After getting negative feedback for this post I thought it necessary to briefly elaborate on the issue of Christians and public schools. Scripture calls parents to teach their children diligently and to protect them from worldly evils. So if we've come to the conclusion that Christian schools and/or homeschooling is most closely aligned with Scripture, where does public school fit in?

One of the main arguments against eliminating public schools and/or dogmatic support for homeschooling, is that not all families can afford private or home education. In today's culture there are many circumstances that require children to attend public schools. A poor, single mother is a perfect example of someone who has few options... but let's look at the root of the this mother's "problem."

The hypothetical, aforementioned single mother probably has little education, little family support, and may not be a Christian. BUT IF SHE WERE A CHRISTIAN THE GAME CHANGES!

If she were a Christian, she would hopefully be a part of a healthy, Gospel-preaching Church body.

If she were a Christian, her child would have support from loving mentors and she would have spiritual support.

If she were a Christian, she might have enough support from her church and Christian non-profits to receive some educational training.

Here's my main message: Evangelism is the foundation of all change. Without Christ, we have no hope. Private Christian schools need to offer more scholarships to low-income students. Churches need to welcome single mothers, the poor, immigrant families, and others. Church members need to actively disciple and mentor new members. 

Monday, September 29

Some Thoughts on Music

Every Christian seems to have a different opinion on music. It's evil. It's edifying. It's amoral. Rock 'n Roll is bad. Christian Rock 'n Roll is good. Ahhhh! We're never going to agree!

Over the last few months I've been reading books (both secular and Christian), reading Scripture, reading scientific studies, and watching sermons on music. Growing up I listened to a lot of hard rock but wasn't even exposed to contemporary christian music (CCM) until I was in high school. Today, I listen to mostly Gospel bluegrass, hymns, acapella, and some old country music. The church of my birth and raising began to transition into CCM during services, which made me progressively more uncomfortable (especially as my walk with the Lord deepened). I no longer go to that church and don't want to get too deep into this issue in this post, however I will say that CCM always bothered my conscience. This post is not an exhaustive defense of why CCM during worship service is sin. I only want to share my thoughts and some resources for your edification. 

What I consider when deciding whether or not to listen to a song...

  • What are the lyrics saying? If it's a contemporary christian song (last 100 years) are the lyrics "God centered" or "me centered" and are they doctrinally sound. Do they directly contradict Scripture, use foul language, or take the Lord's name in vain?
  • Does the tone of the song match the message it's trying to convey? If it's an uplifting song about God's Grace, the 'feel' or 'tone' of the song shouldn't be slow and depressing.
  • Who's the artist/singer/band? Are they living in heresy or a lifestyle of sin? As a consumer, I don't want to support a product (the music) that's contradicts my values. In other words, I wouldn't buy music from a Satanic band or a drug-addicted singer. Just like I don't buy Starbucks because they support gay marriage, I wouldn't buy a CD from a singer that supports gay marriage.
  • Are the reasons why I'm listening to the song sinful? Am I resorting to music instead of bringing my worries to God (musical escapism)? Am I enjoying a song because of it's rock beat or sexual undertones.
  • Is the rock beat overwhelming? Every genre and song within a genre is different. The general test I use in songs with a rock beat is, "Would I enjoy this song acapella?" If I wouldn't, then I know I'm listening to the song mainly because of it's rock beat.
Research on Rock 'n Roll and Heavy Metal*
  • A 1978 study of 240 children found found that after administering an emotional stability test to children while they listened to rock, an unbiased psychiatrist (meaning he had no knowledge of the children other than their age) evaluated their scores and determined the test was given to children at a mental institution.
  • A study of techno vs. classical music found techno music related negatively with hard avoidance scores and positively with novelty seeking temperament. Techno music also increased heart rate and systolic blood pressure.
  • After listening to happy or sad music people then interpreted neutral facial expression in a corresponding way (meaning those who listened to sad music interpreted neutral expressions as more sad)
  • The human brain shuts down after 3-4 repetitions, and excessive repetition causes people to release control of their thoughts
  • Muscles in the entire body actually become weaker when listening to rock music
  • A group of rats in a box listened to Bach, then listened to rock music in another box. All of the rats voluntarily chose to leave the rock box for the Bach box.
  • Plant studies reveal that plants grow better when located near classical music, and grow poorly or die near rock music. (Dorothy Retallack's famous study)
  • When scientists scanned the brains of musicians who had child os euphoria when listening to music, they found the same reward systems were stimulated as for food, sex, addiction, and drugs.
  • Heavy metal listeners have higher depression, problematic parent relations, alcohol use, and negative thoughts (correlation doesn't necessarily equal causation, but this is still interesting)
* All of the above information was researched and compiled by myself from reputable scientific studies

A Few Related Scripture Verses to Ponder...

  • Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and ifthere is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:8)
  • Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16)
  • Be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil (Romans 16:19)

Resources I enjoyed in my study of music... (linked)