Friday, July 31, 2015

Teaching Them Diligently - Day 3

Our third and final morning in Dallas, Wade woke up and attended a Men's Breakfast with David and Jason Benham.  If you don't know the Benham Brothers, well, you will by the end of this post.  :))

  Wadie came back in time for me to head out to my first session.. so thankful for a sweet husband who is willing to watch ALL FOUR of our kids in a cramped hotel room so Mommy can go and learn!!  My mom and dad were also at the hotel, which allowed Wade and I to go to a few sessions together - such a treat!!!  Love my Wadie who encourages me to love our children well! 

Our last pictures of beautiful downtown Dallas!!


The Benham Brothers were our keynote speakers.. and this crowd loved getting to hear them!  Except maybe Callie, HA!

Their story is just incredible.  For more information about them, go the the Benham Brothers Website.  But the gist is that they were fired from HGTV because they loved Jesus and wouldn't compromise their Biblical values!  It was an honor to hear them.. and then to meet them!!

Autographing their book..

And then THEY suggested we get a picture together!  Soooo sweet!!  We had ridden down the elevator with them that morning and all I could blabber about was how we had 4 kids and how I was hoping my Mom was watching them.. around here.. somewhere!  Haa!!  They were precious!!  We were super impressed.  And bought 3 of their books. ;))

Meeting the Sharbonos!!

Nathan looks so much like them!!!  And Jude was clearly impressed, as well...

They were the last speakers we heard before we had to leave, so we ended our first homeschool conference on a super high note!  It had been a WONDERFUL experience!!

Our little Granthus was all speaker-ed out, though..  He was ready to get in the car and take a nice, long nap back home.

See the scratch Grant put on Kate??  Yikes, bad Grant!!  But isn't she still just the cutest little thing?!?!  And dressed like a mini-Heather!

My last picture in Dallas.. 
And this, folks, is why we went.  This is why we do what we do.
You're looking at our next generation of missionaries:

I didn't want to forget everything I had learned over those few days, so I brought along a notebook and pen and scribbled away, an hour at a time, at every session.  Some were better than others, but all were informative and taught me something.  Lots of people have asked about the conference, so I wanted to write down a few of my favorite notes.  I think it will be good for me to be able to look back and reflect on.. when my notebook pages are covered in crayon drawings, as I know they will be eventually, ha!!  That post, coming up next!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Teaching Them Diligently - Day 2

Thursday morning, July 16, we woke up ready to take on Dallas!  More specifically, DEALEY PLAZA!!!!!!  I've come to absolutely love history and all the interesting events that have brought us to where we are in the world.  More recently, I've studied up on JFK for the 50 year anniversary of his murder in downtown Dallas!  Since our hotel was literally like 2 blocks away from Dealey Plaza, it was a no-brainer that we would be taking time out to explore this!!

We began at the museum that is dedicated to preserving the facts, photos, and even the exact window that Lee Harvey Oswald shot through to kill Kennedy.  

The Texas School Book Depository... where Oswald worked for just a brief time before assassinating the President.

The Grassy Knoll


Sadly, we weren't able to take pictures in the museum. :((  But inside, we got to actually SEE Abraham Zapruder's camera, the only camera that caught the entire assassination on tape.

The pedestal where he stood to film everything..

There's a huge plaque with one of the quotes Kennedy was going to deliver at the Trade Mart.. he never arrived to do so. :(( 

That X is THE shot. The fatal head shot that killed Kennedy.


Obviously, we had to run out, dodging cars, in order to stand on THE spot. #tourists

I happened to grab this picture looking back up at the Book Depository Building..
see the window directly above the tree limbs??  Ironically, it's still a completely clear shot from the window to the road.

My little loves, ready to learn more about the President from 50 years ago!! 

When I was learning about JFK last year, my sweet father-in-law bought this Life magazine for me, entitled "The Day Kennedy Died."  I thought it was appropriate to bring it along with me on this trip!

 The kids got their very own Audio Tour headphone set and boy, did they feel important!!  It was so cute!!  At the end of the tour, Andrew said, "Mom!!  Do you know what they called that lady??  Lady Bird!!"  {Jackie's Secret Service name was Lady Bird and Andrew picked that up all by himself!!  Love these wonderful family field trips where they actually learn something!  Ha!!}

The museum was so neat, full of pictures, videos, artifacts, and super amazing things like:
 the handcuffs that Oswarld was wearing when he was shot, the President's place setting that sat at the Trade Mart waiting for him, the hat and a letter from the courtroom when Jack Ruby (the man who shot Oswald) was tried, and my most favorite - every camera from Dealey Plaza that was confiscated by police to piece together what happened.  Some people had bought a camera just to take a picture of the President, others were playing hookey from school and work, some parents had just brought their little children out for a big, historic day in Dallas.  And what a day it turned out to be. 

This couple had brought their two children out to see the President, heard the gunshots, and covered their children with their bodies on the Grassy Knoll. 

The actual window Oswald shot from was glassed off, but the exact scene was recreated, down to the gun rest on the windowsill.  The flooring and bricked walls were the exact ones Oswald would have walked on and seen.  Incredible.
This is the seventh floor where you could see the street...

The Kennedy's went down the road on the left, took the sharp curve to the right and continued on.  See the overpass??  By the time JFK reached that, he had been shot and Jackie had already climbed onto the back of the car before it sped away for Parkland Hospital.

Can you find the two X's..??  The closest one is the neck shot... the following is the head shot.  So morbid, so surreal.

This was the last exhibit we stopped to look at before leaving the museum..  every frame of Jackie's face is actually Jack.  And every frame in Jack's face is Jackie!!  SO NEAT!  I loved teaching my kids all about Jack and Jackie.. but what I loved even more was teaching them how important it is to use one's life to love God and serve Him above anything and everything else.  Life is but a vapor - it appears for a while and then is gone. (James 4:14)

A close-up of Jack's face... which was actually Jackie.  CRAZY!!


The top level is the seventh floor where we were able to take pictures of the street.  One floor below, through the square window on the corner, I told the kids "an evil, evil man brought a gun to work, pointed it out the window, and killed the ruler of our country.  This made everyone sad because he died.  His name was JFK." 

The view from that sharp curve..

Jenny, Lissie, and Hezzy at one of our nation's landmarks.

Hezzy and Jason, close to the same spot as the Newton's, the family who covered their children with their bodies and were close to being causalities themselves.

The view from the Grassy Knoll..

Our little children learned lots of history that day!!

I think it's so important to teach our children all about the history of our country and our world!  Getting to actually live it and breathe it, sit on the Grassy Knoll and see the marked X's on the road.. it was an incredible teaching moment.

And while they may not totally understand it now, I think they'll come to appreciate these field trips.  To learn how all of our decisions affect others.  How sin separates us from God and from each other.  How knowing and loving Jesus are the only things that matter in this world.. because He is more important than position, politics, an agenda or even a presidency.  

After an incredible morning of taking in Dealey Plaza (I would recommend it to everyone!!  Even if you don't do the museum, everyone should walk on the Grassy Knoll and see the Depository window for themselves!),  we all realized we were starved.  As we were driving on to lunch, we passed this: The JFK Memorial Plaza.
As unimpressive as this seems, it's supposed to resemble an "open tomb" that symbolizes the freedom of JFK's spirit.  Interesting.

Pecan Lodge was for lunch - voted one of the top 13 Best BBQ joints in the COUNTRY!  Duhhhh, of course, we had to eat here!

17 waters, please!!!  It is HOT in Texas, people! Hahaa!

Winner, winner, BBQ dinner!!

The little children were good sports about having to sit outside.. for the most part. ;))

Kate got her very own shade tree, ha!!

How adorable is this little man?!?  Baby model!

Of course, Andrew loved the big steer at the BBQ joint!

Little cuties!!  Wade said Pecan Lodge was the some of the best BBQ he has ever had.. and y'all.  That's saying something!!!  So glad Hezzy found this place for us and so glad we got to try it!!  Even if it was 180 degrees outside.. 

Back at the hotel, we all got ready for our very first session at the Teaching Them Diligently Homeschool Conference!!  It seemed like every session just got better than the one before!  I learned so many wonderful tips and ideas for schooling my kids and left each session feeling more and more motivated and energetic!! (More on that in the next post!) It was so good to be refreshed, renewed and reaffirmed in our decision to homeschool.  Or rather, in the Lord's decision for us to homeschool. ;)  The conference sessions lasted til late in the evening, so it was a very full day!!  We watched the Dallas city lights for awhile before crashing that night..

We woke up the next morning to find this out our window..
See the window washers?!?!  Sliding down the building?!  They sat on the ledge as they hooked up their gear and then swung themselves over and got to work!

Can you still spot them??  Do you see how high they are?!  We watched them as they worked, wiping and washing all the windows on their way down!  Oh. My. Goodness.  I don't know how much they are getting paid, but IT ISN'T ENOUGH!!!  

Hez met up with me before heading down to more sessions and we had to laugh at how similarly we were dressed!!

I was so glad my sisters and parents were able to join us at the conference!!! {Kurt and Mandy - WE MISSED YOUUUUUU!!!!} It was a wonderful time being together... or at least passing each other in the halls as we went to all of our different sessions, ha!! My favorite part of our time together was sitting out in the hall between all of our rooms super late on our last night there, eating granola and going over everything we had learned.  It reminded me of life in the dorms.. minus the RAs coming out to tell us it was quiet hours and could we please go to bed. Ha!! It was one of the highlights of the trip... along with Dealey Plaza. ;)) So thankful for my precious family!!!
Our last day in Dallas, coming up next!

About Me

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From childhood friends to high school sweethearts, and now newlyweds and brand-new parents, Wade and I can only thank Jesus for His incredible blessings. Our three children are the ULTIMATE gifts from God and we pray that our lives glorify Him. He is our everything.