Musings from the Threshold

Monthly Archives: April 2010

The Revolutionary Paul Revere – A Review

The Revolutionary Paul Revere by Joel Miller was an informative and fascinating read. Miller quickly demonstrates how much there is to learn about this key figure in the American Revolution, and makes the process of expanding one’s knowledge quite enjoyable.

One of the highlights of the book are the chapter headings, which spotlight Miller’s ability to turn a phrase. An example: “In which our hero hones his business acumen along with his art, experimenting with novel metallurgic methods and embellishments, while still making time for compotation and conviviality at the Green Dragon – and joining an extraordinary society of immense secrecy.”

Miller has done his research and documented it well; there are more than 26 pages of footnotes. When historical documents have not provided the details, Miller uses language that clarifies the use of conjecture based on the circumstances of the times. I appreciate the clear line drawn between established facts and reasonable imagination.

As Miller takes us through Revere’s life, he covers Revere’s personal, religious, professional, social and military experiences. His account of Revere’s involvement with other patriots in the years leading up to and through the Revolution gives enough detail to whet the reader’s appetite for learning about this period in American history without detracting from telling the story of Paul Revere. My enjoyment of the book was obvious enough that my sons are eagerly looking forward to reading it.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

I review for BookSneeze

An Afternoon at Shaw

Last Wednesday, we met Dad and Mom Smith at nearby Shaw Nature Reserve. Shaw is one of my favorite places to visit in the St. Louis area, as is evidenced by the myriad of pictures on my computer and on my blog. I love the emphasis on plants are local to the area, and the fact that they give it as natural a feel as possible.

I love to hike at Shaw, but knew that just wasn’t an option this spring. In fact, I hadn’t been able to figure out how I was going to get to enjoy it at before summer, because this pregnancy has had me a lot less mobile than usual.

Well, we figured out that we could drive into the reserve and park near the Bascom House, which we had never visited, despite the fact that it’s rightnextdoor to the wildflower garden, which we have frequented. So Dad & Mom S. walked out with the Blessings while Jonathan and I drove. We investigated the Bascom House, then went down to the wildflower garden where I found a bench in a lovely spot while the rest of the gang went walking.

The Bascom House is definitely a worthwhile excursion. It was built in the late 1800s and the Missouri Botanical Gardens (which runs Shaw) and the MO Dept. of Conservation teamed up to restore it. I like the architecture, the woodwork is gorgeous, and the displays are interesting.

Here are some pictures from outside the house:

From inside the house:

And a couple of other outside shots from the wildflower garden (there are more in my Spring Flowers post from yesterday):

Spring Flowers

I have thoroughly been enjoying the flowers of spring, in their various forms and locations.

From these purple beauties hand-picked by Stephen …

To Dad & Mom Smith’s beautiful daffodils …

To the lovely flowers at Shaw Nature Reserve …

To the bunches of wild sweet william Kate, Siah, and Ellie brought in yesterday …

… God’s creation is so lovely!

Cloth Diapers

Recently, I wrote a bit about my experience with cloth diapers for someone asking on my Bible college alumni website. And today, a friend from KBC asked on Facebook about cloth diaper options. I figured that was a sign that I should turn my alumni site response into a blog post! Here it is, with some updates and additions:

I have used cloth for two of our Blessings, and am planning to use them with our little one who is due to arrive in about a month.

Here is a article covering the 4 basic types of cloth diapering systems. It does a great job of describing and covering the advantages/disadvantages of each system.

This is an article talking about the “why” of cloth diapering. Some good information in there.

And here’s one on making/using cloth wipes. You can use disposable wipes with cloth diapers, but cloth are easier in many ways, b/c their destination is the same as the diapers!

And here is a link to Jillian’s Drawers, where you can try a bunch of different kinds of diapers for $10 for 21 days (from when you receive them). I believe you pay for the package upfront ($150), then receive the refund (-$10) when you send them back. Seems like it might be a good way to try a variety of types of diapers with almost no risk.

As far as my personal experience, I have used:

~~ Pre-folds with wraps (I use the Prorap, which I like b/c it is inexpensive and you don’t need to pin or snappy the pre-fold; the wrap holds it all together very well). I like this system; it is inexpensive and works well with rare leakage.

~~ Fitted diapers with wraps, on loan from a friend. Loved them. More expensive (though would still be a savings over disposables in the long run), easier to use for those unfamiliar with cloth diapering, even fewer leaks.

~~ Pocket diapers. Getting ready to try these. I got a great deal on a bunch of Bum Genius 3.0 (one-size fits from 8-35# pocket diapers) at a recent sale and am excited about using them with our coming little one. They sell special inserts for the pocket diapers; I will be using my stash of prefolds as inserts. You can “pre-load” the inserts and have your stack of diapers ready to go, which makes these as easy to use as a fitted or all in one, I think.

I will admit that I have quit on the cloth diapers in the past once the poops started getting extra stinky (table food). I just don’t like swishing my hands in the toilet. 🙂 However, my goal is to make it through potty training in cloth this time!

A couple of ideas on this:
~ I’ve asked my hubby to install a diaper sprayer on our toilet once Baby gets to table food. He’s not excited about it because of the “play” possibilities, so that might not happen.
~ I think the flushable liners would help this a TON and still be very economical.
~ A dear friend who has recently started cloth diapering her two year old (to help him along with potty training by feeling the wet) shared with me that she doesn’t rinse the dipes in the toilet. She gets off what she can (using TP if needed) and uses a wet pail (water and lavender essential oil). She just dumps it all in the washing machine, rinses twice, washes once (correct me if I’m wrong on that, Shawna). No stains, no hands in toilet. Sounds pretty good!

So that’s where we’ve been with cloth diapers, where we’re headed, and some links to great resources. Hope it’s helpful!

Resurrection Sunday

We had a lovely day on Sunday celebrating the Resurrection of our Lord. We enjoyed breaking bread with the believers at Bible Truth Fellowship, then had a yummy brunch with Dad and Mom Smith at their place. I didn’t think to get any pictures of all the Blessings together, but I did get some cute shots:

In the late afternoon, we headed over to the home of our dear friends the Teeters. We don’t usually do an egg hunt, so this was a first for many of our children. They really enjoyed it! (Click on the collages to get a better look at the pictures)
The “littles” had a hunt in the front yard:

And the bigger kids had a much more challenging hunt in the backyard:

It was a joy to spend time with such dear friends whom we don’t get to see as often as we’d like.


I seem to be a bit emotionally unstable this week. I mean, I probably shouldn’t be moved to tears by the fact that my husband wants plain grits instead of my creative twist, or by the fact that I accidentally dropped a pound of sausage on the floor. Right?

I’m guessing that my hormones are going a bit wonky right now. Spring has sprung; we’ve had one gorgeous sunny day after another this week; the garden is coming along; there’s a lovely green haze showing up in the trees, etc. All great reasons to be cheerful and springy myself! And mostly, I am. Just seem to be extra emotional and set off far too easily.

Now, for me, realizing that it’s likely my hormones is NOT an excuse. It is an alert, a wake up call. It tells me that I need to get grounded in Truth and focused on Him. To paraphrase Amy Carmichael, a cup of sweet water won’t spill out bitter water, no matter how you jostle it. And my water needs some sweetening.

So, here’s to getting refocused and grounded. And what a great day for it… Good Friday, when we turn our eyes to Calvary (where they should be every day).

I’ve been thinking on Isaiah 53 this morning:
(1) Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
(2) For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.
(3) He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
(4) Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
(5) But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.
(6) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned–every one–to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
(7) He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.
(8) By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?
(9) And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.
(10) Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
(11) Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.
(12) Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.

And 1 Peter 2:19-25:
For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. (20) For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. (21) For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. (22) He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. (23) When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. (24) He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. (25) For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

I was also thinking of this hymn this morning:

Oh, my Saviour crucified,
Near Thy cross would I abide,
Gazing with adoring eye
On Thy dying agony.

Jesus bruised and put to shame,
Tells me all Jehovah’s name;
God is love I surely know,
In the Saviour’s depth of woe.

In His spotless soul’s distress,
I have learnt my guiltiness;
Oh, how vile my low estate,
Since my ransom was so great.

Rent the veil that closed the way
To my home of heavenly day,
In the flesh of Christ the Lord,
Ever be His name adored.

Yet in sight of Calvary,
Contrite should my spirit be,
Rest and holiness there find,
Fashioned like my Saviour’s mind.
~Robert C. Chapman~