Thursday, January 29, 2009


I keep forgetting to post pictures! I need to take some more and brighten up this blog a bit.

Well, today we are nearing the end of our fourth week of school. Lorien only has one more week of basketball. She has two games next week. Upwards basketball will keep going until March.

Jathan is now less than one month away from shipping out.

Kesse and Kyrie should be rigorously in the college schedule.

Kyrie is looking at possible medical missions this summer in Mexico. She is trying to find an option that might provide credit for college as well as the experience. She is interested in working for a longer period of time this summer and is talking with MTW to see what her options are.

I enjoyed Mary Kathryn's pictures of Covenant so much! So many memories there! I know that the college is very different now that it was years ago, but it is still so beautiful! Lookout Mountain was a wonderful place to grow up!

It is good to hear that Mama is healing and able to get about fairly well. We continue to pray for the total eradication of the cancer.

Watching this trial from the news has made me so thankful for our precious Saviour, who has blessed us in so many ways. So many have not grown up with the blessing of a Christian home, and have not experienced God's saving grace in their lives. Surely God's grace keeps us from going down the same road. I cannot even imagine where I would be without Him.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Jury Duty

Every so often, you might hear of someone near to you that gets a letter in the mail from the court system requiring jury duty. I have gotten several while living here in Iowa, and recently I received another. This time, the jury duty was for the county court system, and on Monday, I was required to show up for the possibility of serving.I find myself very interested in the process and certainly willing to provide whatever I can for the benefit of living in a country where we get the benefit of the doubt - presumed innocent until proven beyond a reasonable doubt that one is guilty.

This selection was different that any prior experiences that I have had, and I was musing this morning on how our system works in the framework of a sovereign God. Probably at least 100 of us were chosen initially for a "high profile" case. 75 of us were lined up in a particular order, and filed into a courtroom with the top county prosecutor - John Sarcone, his assistant, two defense attorneys, the defendant, two guards and the judge. The beginning of jury selection included allowing hardship cases to leave for family difficulties, financial difficulties, job jeopardy situations, and health reasons. Then, the Sarcone began to interview each potential juror - "tell me about yourself," he asks. Then he methodically takes each person through the perfectly worded questions that he is using to eliminate anyone that he thinks will compromise the verdict he wants.

"How do you decide if someone is telling the truth?"
"When is violence lawful?"
"Can a citizen use deadly force? When?"
"What is your knowledge of the criminal justice system?"
"How did you get your knowledge?"
"What criteria did you use to buy your home?"
"Tell me something about you that you think I should know."
"Can you sit in judgment of another man?"
"Can you be fair and impartial?"
"Where do you work?"
"Do you like your work? What would you change about it, if you could?"

He spears probing questions into the fabric of our lives, exposing our personal and intimate thoughts before 100 people that we don't even know. It was daunting. After day one, he has only completed the interviewing of about 25 of us. We come back for day two. I was probably number 28, so I was able to answer on day 2, after some thought about what I might say to these things.

I found myself pondering the enormity of sitting in judgment on a man's life. We had been told that this was a murder trial. This man was on trial for murder. He was accused of murdering a 7-month old baby girl, 9 blocks from my house. How horrible to be charged if one was innocent! What despair and desperate anxiety for want of justice for one who is charged with so heinous a crime if he did not do it! Then again, if he is guilty, how pressing it would be to deliver the guilty verdict. I knew nothing of the case and was willing to listen to all the evidence before deciding, but pressed to be sure of my decision, and to do my very best for the justice of this case.

I found too, that the thought of sitting through a trial with all the disturbing pictures and videos would challenge me emotionally. How devastating to see a lifeless baby girl. But, I found that even more, I wanted to do everything that I could to promote the truth - to deliver justice. On day two, Sarcone gets to me. Interestingly, he is not asking me the same questions that he asked others. He notices that I work for Faith Academy, and he hones in on that.

"What exactly is Faith Academy?"
"What do you do there?"
And then, the telling question, "Are your students required to take Bible?"

Wow. I knew immediately that I had been eliminated because I taught school at a Christian school. Sarcone would (could) never say that he was prejudiced against me because I am a Christian teaching at a Christian school, but it was quite obvious.

I wasn't too disappointed that I wasn't chosen. The pictures and trauma of that trial were to be life-changing and very difficult, and in God's sovereignty, He spared me that. However, the sad idea that Christianity creates negative value for the juror is something that our forefathers would have never considered. But, here we are.

I was allowed after dismissal to look up more on the case and found that the defendant, Michael Elliott, was a student body president for Drake University 8 years ago. He was head of the Republican Party on Drake's campus, and was part of the presidential campaign for Mitt Romney. In 2006, Elliott was convicted as a sex offender, and on the night of the murder, he was violating his parole by being in the company of the 16 year old mother of the baby.I could see why Sarcone didn't want conservatives on the jury. I wouldn't have prejudged however, and knew nothing until I was released. His loss was the possible juror who was willing to listen to everything first, and judge later. I was willing to deliver whichever verdict I thought was just.

Long musings for a Wednesday morning. Oh well. Back to math. The world presses on us at times, and brings us to unusual places. I will think about this trial all week, I am sure, and follow the outcome. I'll pray for justice and for the right verdict. It is good to know that our Lord is sovereign. I'll let you know what happens!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thursday in Iowa

Titles are fun - "Thursday in Iowa" for instance. You might think that something new and exciting was happening because it is Thursday. Well - not really. It is a regular Thursday, and in fact, a regular day in Iowa.

Lorien has a home game tonight, which is always fun. We love to watch her play and see the girls improving their skills. It's nice to be with a group that doesn't overemphasize winning. The game stays fun.

We are continuing to pray for close friends in the church, whose younger brother's health is failing. He is not exected to live much longer. If you have the time - please pray for the Neelys.

I have so appreciated Mary Kathryn's blog about her pastor's wife. These are tough times.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Iowa Update

Mary Kathryn has snow! What fun! It was great to see snow in North Carolina.

I need to start taking some more pictures, but first I need to get my camera back from Kayren. She has been using it rather faithfully, and I really don't see it much.

Today is so busy - Jathan will be working here at Faith. Lorien has school, b-ball practice, homework, and youth group. Kayren is working today. Aleya will need to come to Faith too. All the girls have piano and youth group, and I am supposed to sit with Cindy Frye tonight. She is my sweet friend from church that has Pique's disease. At this time, she cannot walk or talk, but not knowing what she is able to absorb, we still read to her, and sing, and just talk. Tom is working until 3 in the morning. Wednesdays are so busy!

My wonderful friend Susan has placed her house on the market. She will try and sell it so that she can move into something that is more manageable. Her house is 50 years old and needs regular maintainence, and has a challenging back yard that is quite steep to mow. I have so loved having her across the street, and will miss her so much. But, I cannot bring myself to discourage her from moving. It would be so much better for her to have place that doesn't need all the work and money that her present home needs. So, please pray that the Lord would work out a wonderful situation for her. She needs low maintainence!

In the meantime, we are just plugging along, focusing on school and church. Winter doesn't allow for too many projects, so we spend most of our time trying to work with the weather and still get things done.

Kayren is driving well - thankfully, and we are grateful for her willingness to help out. She has picked up Lorien a couple of times. So far, I have insisted that they drive silently - lest they argue about something and Kayren wrecks. But they seem to think that they are able now to drive with slight conversation! We'll see. I don't have any way to check this problem, except to see how they operate at home. They do seem to be improving. I remember arguing with my older brother in the worst way, about things that really didn't matter. We get along splendidly now (at least in my view - Arne?) and I have high hopes for Kayren and Lorien!

Well, school is about to start. How grateful I am for all the blessings that the Lord has given!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Cold Weather in Iowa

The cold is back - as if it would leave for too long. But, we had a wonderful snow before the cold, so the white snow sparkles in the sun, and looks inviting, even though it really isn't.

We are celebrating the birth of a boy this morning as one of my co-workers had her fourth child. She had three girls, and this one is a boy! We are so excited for God's grace in providing a safe birth and healthy Mom and baby this morning.

On the other hand, my boss will be attending his mother's funeral this morning.

The sorrows and joys give our emotions a ride. We are praying for both families this morning.

I haven't heard anything from Mama and Papa Robinson, but we are praying that her surgery went well. Lord willing, we will hear from them today!

Kyrie will be job-shadowing a physician's assistant today, and seeing what goes on there.

The girls are working on school, and Jathan is trying to avoid a cold.

Tom is busy trying to figure out our car situation, since we are down to one at this point. This is rather challenging, and I don't know what we would do without Jathan's generous willingness to take us all over the place when we need rides.

Time for work!

Monday, January 12, 2009

A new blog

I just thought I would let everyone know that Jathan has started a blog now, to journal his time in boot camp. He isn't sure that he will get lots of time to do so, but started it now just in case. What's fun about younger people blogging is that they are so wonderful at keeping things updated! So - it's called A Journal of Reflections, located at

Yesterday, Kesse set off for Bryan but she only made it about an hour down the road before she twirled off into the median. God's grace is always amazing, because in the midst of knowing that she is stranded on the interstate, she did miss the bridge abutment and the railing. She also didn't fly into oncoming traffic. And she wasn't hurt. We drove over to dig her out, limped the poor Toyota home, and switched vehicles with her and sent her back down the interstate to try again. This time she made it to Arne's with a tired body, a little bit of caffeine, and a big heart of relief. The weather has not been very nice for driving recently!

We are praying for Mama and Papa Robinson today as Mama is having surgery. Please pray for her today. We hope to hear how things went later.

Well, school is starting soon, and I need to do a couple other things.

We are so thankful for God's blessings!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

News from Iowa

I can't remember the last time I updated this blog. It seems likes "years" ago! Anyway, all the kids came home for Christmas and we have had a wonderful time. I just love having them all home. It is so relaxing to hang around, watch a movie together, or play games. Sometimes we just sit in the living room and read or play "fantastic contraption" on the computer. Jathan introduced us to this addictive, but delightful (free) internet physics game. Aleya loves it! Anyway, after lots of food, and fun, Kesse returns to college this weekend. Kyrie goes back next weekend.

Jathan joined the army reserves and leaves at the end of February. He is working for Faith Academy and teaching the science for our science teacher who is on maternity leave. He is having a great time writing labs and using power point and internet examples. His plan is to join the military, become a medic and get 750 hours required medical experience, take two classes, and take the MCAT during the next year. Then, he can apply to DMU med school, and if he gets accepted, the military will pay for his med school, and he will owe them three years. We are encouraged by his plan, but ask you all to pray for the challenges that the military will bring, especially spiritually. He is excited though.

We are praying for Grandmama Robinson as she is attending to a medical situation with her arm. We hope that her recent appointment went well.

Iowa is so cold in the winter, and this morning is no different. The snow remains on the ground, kind of dirty and grey, with treacherous ice patches that jump up to surprise you when you least expect it. I am not sure that I will ever get used to it.

School has begun, and everyone is working on getting back in the groove. January grinds slowly though. Maybe it's the cold that boxes in our motivation.

We are eager to hear from Mary Kathryn who is taking her trip to Europe this month.

We are rejoicing with Lane and Sarah who are expecting their fourth child this year.

Well, I don't have time to update on all the things that I have neglected posting, but I will try to keep this up more regularly now.

We are ever grateful to our loving Lord for His grace and goodness, and persevering strength to live each day with our eyes on Him.