God, give us men! A time like this demands

God, give us men! A time like this demands

Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands;

Men whom the lust of office does not kill;

Men whom the spoils of office can not buy;

Men who possess opinions and a will;

Men who have honor; men who will not lie;

Men who can stand before a demagogue

And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking!

Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog

In public duty, and in private thinking;

For while the rabble, with their thumb-worn creeds,

Their large professions and their little deeds,

Mingle in selfish strife, lo! Freedom weeps,

Wrong rules the land and waiting Justice sleeps.

Josiah Gilbert Holland

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Games to play when you don’t share a language

One of the things we want to do with our four Ukrainian orphans when they come is play some games. Unfortunately, our game supply, once massive, has become sadly depleted, and many of them rendered useless thanks to the depradations of our two American boys, Blynken and Nod. And we learned when the Ukrainian boys were here what sorts of games would work and what wouldn’t- the fast pace of Dutch Blitz is not good. They could just handle Blink because it’s a two player game. When we adapted it to make it multiplayer, the youngest became a bit aggressive- not even on purpose- he just found the fast pace overwhelming and it brought out the worst. So turn playing works better. Heavy text or complex instructions don’t work well. Here are some games I’m considering (some recommended by others). I can’t get them all (over 300 dollars of games currently in my cart, eep). So if you’re familiar with any of them, what would you suggest?

Pop Up Pirate Game by TOMY
We owned an original, purchased in Japan around 25 years ago. We played it regularly with all 7 of our children over two decades and with many, many guests and it lasted well. In the last two years, B and N have broken the pirate in half and lost nearly all the swords.=( So I am getting this one- it’s fun, it’s turn based, requires no language, and we’ve never had a kid around who did not love it. Only I’m locking it up in between use- in my closet, probably.

Travel Qwirkle Board Game– going with travel game because travel versions are often cheaper and also take up less space, so we can take this to the Philippines when we move there in November. Yeah, did you know that?
Recommended as quick playing, similar brain skills as Dutch Blitz, but turn based.

Considering for my Big Boy- he has the gift of gab, so he may enjoy this.

Sounds fun- addition practice, some strategy, don’t need much in the way of a mutual language to play.

Sushi Go!

Small World
recommended as like Risk, but shorter, faster, easier. Not sure about the language barrier, or the fact that our four boys are not the best sports about losing (and they lose so much in life already)- We won’t cheat to make them win, because i think a good that come from their stay with us is learning to be good sports, but at the same time, I don’t want that hurdle to be too high, you know?

Tsuro: The Game of the Path

Ticket To Ride – Europe

Tokaido Board Game

Takenoko Board Game

Gravity Maze

Melissa & Doug Suspend Game

Science Wiz Cool Circuits

HABA Rhino Hero Stacking Game

So, we’re looking for games they can pick up by watching them being played or by playing through- they don’t have enough English for complicated game instructions.
We’re looking for turn taking, not everybody playing at once, because they didn’t do well with that type of game.
We want to be able to play together, so four or more players.
Playing together itself has educational value- they pick up English vocabulary and some sportsmanship via example. But it’s nice if there is also some additional educational value that will be of use to them.

Games we have:
Uno- they have two sets at their orphanage, too, and they play well but it’s kind of boring now.
Dutch blitz- they hate it.
Go Fish- I upgrade this into a vocabulary game using memory cards, they like it.
Jenga- they enjoyed this.
Simon- a travel version, they got bored quickly because I couldn’t get it to a more cmplicated version. We may need the full sized.
Racko- we never got around to playing this one, but we will this visit.

What are three games you could recommend? You can choose from the ones listed above, or make new suggestions. I can’t buy 15 games, and we can probably realistically play 5 new games on a regular basis. Let’s hear your suggestions.

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March, 2016 Books

1) Looking Back: A Book of Memories by Lois Lowry ~ half of this book is photographs, so it was an “easy” read in that regard. Emotionally, however, it was much deeper. Lowry has had heartbreak in her life and  many parts made me pause and snuggle my family more. She writes very well (which is a duh) and this book was just moving… moving in its joy and sadness.

I didn’t know she was also a military brat and there were several parts where I could feel my third culture kid soul connecting to that special brand of loneliness and wonder that is part of being so closely intimate with another country that you don’t really feel at home where everybody expects you to, if that makes sense.

Now I want to re-read Number the Stars and finally get around to reading The Giver. <– I KNOW. I haven’t read that one yet. I don’t know why.

2) Anne of the Island by L. M. Montgomery ~ a re-read. Finally Anne & Gilbert together! This book is considerably more episodic than I remembered and has an eye-rolling number of marriage proposals.  Also, after re-reading the first three books: Gilbert is Anne’s ultimate hero, but we actually don’t actually get to hear much of *his* voice. We know who he is, of course, but I feel like Montgomery really struggled at portraying him on his own.

I love her nature descriptions and how intimately aware she was of the world around her.

3) Sense & Sensibility  by Jane Austen ~ a re-read. … because a year without Austen is inconceivable. This was the first Austen I read and I adore it so much… Elinor’s self-control, Marianne’s passionate heart and sweet humility, Colonel Brandon’s courage, Edward’s growth, the wit that was Austen’s second nature. So much to love.

This time around Mrs. Jennings seemed more compassionate and less tacky. Maybe I’m valuing her compassion more the older I get? Or getting tackier myself? hmm. 😉

4) Encyclopedia Brown Gets His Man by Donald Sobol ~  re-read while holding a sick toddler. I loved these books when I was 10-12ish… Sobol writes with humor, and the mysteries were fun to try and solve. There were a couple parts that were a bit more mean-spirited than I recalled, but I am definitely looking forward to sharing these with my children when they’re a bit older.

5) In Grandma’s Attic by Arleta Richardson ~ another re-read of an old childhood favorite. Down-to-earth humor and celebrations of quiet, peaceable family life. Richardson’s grandmother told her stories about growing up in a farm in the late 1800s; these are written from a distinctly Christian viewpoint, with the difference being that they’re written WELL from a Christian viewpoint, instead of being preachy drivel.

6) That Went Well: Adventures in Caring For My Sister by Terrell Dougan. Ostensibly about caring for the author’s special needs sister ~ born w/ oxygen deprivation in the 1940s, with almost no special education available, and now living at about the mental/emotional level of a three-year-old.

This is not a bad book, but its title is very misleading. This is more the life of Terrell Dougan ~ which happens to include quite a bit about her sister. Terrell has an interesting life and I really enjoyed her stories… both of multi-generational living (one grandmother lived with her family when she was a child), of growing up in the 1950s, of helping develop special-needs programs in Utah in the 1960s-1980s, etc. But I wanted to hear a bit more about caring for her sister and it seems more like she doesn’t actually quite understand her still, after all these years, and that she has some co-dependent struggles she still hasn’t overcome (she acknowledges that, at least).

7) Shop Class As Soul Craft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work by Matthew Crawford ~ I read his “The World Beyond Your Head: Becoming An Individual In An Age of Distraction” last year and couldn’t rave about it enough. I knew I wanted to read this book,  which is actually his first. I’m glad I read it, but I actually think his second book is better at developing some of his main points: the importance of interacting with the *real* things in life; the false way we use the idea of autonomy and self; the way some authority structures do matter; and the way true community can help us go deeper as individuals.

8) The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis ~ a re-read. I read this one again in November, so this is awfully soon to be reading it again… but we had it on audio CD for the kids and we listened to it in the car. It’s been so much fun to watch them learn the story.

9) The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien ~ a re-read, listened to on CD in the car.  A lot of the story went over our kids’ heads, but they connected more strongly with other parts than I expected them to. The boy really loved Bard killing the dragon, for instance.

The main thing I noticed after not reading the book in 15 years: how badly the movies lost the truth of the fact that wisdom does not exclude mirth. The elves are so funny in the book and in the movie they’re all Grim & Mysterious. We’ve lost something when we lose the idea that joy and seriousness can be all together.

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Conflict avoidance

abstention…. is tacit consent

In Dante, the hottest places in hell are for those who, in times of crisis, remain neutral

I read  by this somewhere, pretty sure it was  Mike Cernovich, but I can’t find it now.  

Sometime, you’re going to be in a bad place where you need friends to stand up for you.  You know who is going to be there for you?  Not, probably, your quiet, friendly good friend who is known for avoiding conflict.  It will be the cranks- the ones known for speaking up and speaking out, who say they disagree when they do, not the ones who smile and nod because they don’t want to rock the boat.

they won’t want to rock the boat for you, either.


Obviously, there will be exceptions in both camps- but generally?  I think this is very true.

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“Fostering wellness concepts”

core competency

empowering anybody to do anything

Your suggestions?


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