Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sono Sato Harris Dies July 4, 2010

Read Randy Alcorn's tribute to Sono at his blog here. I was so impacted by Sono's life and death. She was as Randy says a world-class wife and gold-medal mother.
How fitting that her life passed while fireworks filled the Portland skies around her. She joins other famous Americans who have died on our nation's birthday, including John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Sono, though I never actually met you, you were a great inspiration. Thank you for your phone calls and emails, offering advice and assistance. You helped us start our speech club by answering my many questions when you had way more important things to do. You tried to help me improve my health with special water; though it didn't do much for me, your interest and care meant a lot.
See you in heaven!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Thoughts on Psalm 65

This is my journal entry for this morning:
Reading Psalm 65 today.
Ps 65:1 Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion, and to you shall vows be performed.
I am struck by the second clause. When we make a vow, any vow, we must remember that God sees and hears us and expects us to keep it, even if the vow is to another human. Marriage vows, contracts, etc.—all are to be done as to the Lord, who holds us to our word. My study notes point out “When Israel brought petitions before the Lord, they frequently promised to offer sacrifices in response to answered prayer”.
v4 Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
the holiness of your temple. (I am satisfied! Better is one day in your courts than thousands elsewhere.)
v. 9 You visit the earth and water it…”
We would not survive w/o God’s continuing visitations upon our land, to water and enrich it. Let me not forget we are wholly dependent upon Him every moment of every day.
v. 9 continued: “the river of God is full of water; you provide their grain, for so you have prepared it” God's supply never never runs out.
cf. Ps 46:1 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved.
This river can refer to three things that I can think of:
1. a river existing in heaven, before God’s throne, in the spiritual realm
2. a future river to exist in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 22), which may someday be one and the same as #1
3. the spiritual “river” of the Holy Spirit, that flows with living water out of the heart of every believer in Christ.
A song comes to mind:
I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me
makes the lame to walk and the blind to see
opens prison doors, sets the captive free
I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me
Spring Up O Well
within my soul
spring up o well
and make me whole
spring up o well
and give to me
that Life Abundantly

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Home Alone and Loving It

My husband and three children are vacationing in Kentucky and DC for two weeks while I hold down the fort here at home. THe first few days were a little rough as I tried to do too much, but on the whole I relish all this time on my hands to read and prepare for the next school year. Not to say I have been totally reclusive; my married children have both come by to see me and help me out when I needed it, and our friend and construction guy Jim M. has been working daily on our kitchen-dining remodel. Also my faithful housekeeper has been coming each week to get the house cleaned and in shape in time for the family's return.

I am enjoying Genesis in my daily morning devotions again. Genesis has always fascinated me. It is a glimpse into a long-ago mysterious world far removed from our own. My imagination runs wild trying to grasp what life was like for Adam and Eve and their progeny, when dinosaurs roamed the earth. It also strikes me how many things remain the same--i.e. the sinful nature of man. I invariably pull out one of my favorite resources, given to me by Caleb for Christmas a couple of years ago: the Adam's Synchronological Chart or History of the World. This marvelous 22-foot timeline is based on Ussher's Annals of the World, another wonderful book I purchased a few years ago from Master's Books. Ussher's Annals were universally accepted as the most reliable source for dating the beginning of human history based on scripture for centuries after its first publication in 1659. In the last 150 years that it has been largely ignored and discarded.

I believe every homeschool mother or father should own these resources. They were both produced before the influence of evolutionary theory had poisoned the minds of many Christian scholars and commentary-writers. Even to this day it is difficult to find prominent Christian teachers that do not reflect evolutionary influence on their thinking, though they may deny it. My ESV Reformation Study Bible, edited by R.C. Sproul and written by evangelical Christians who profess to believe the Bible as infallible, displays a disappointing cynicism towards some passages of Genesis such as the post-Flood genealogy. In contrast, the Adams-Ussher duo shows an uncompromising trust of the word of God, for saying what it means and meaning what it says. It is a breath of fresh air.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Feminine by Design: A Great Book

Feminine by Design: the Twelve Pillars of Biblical Womanhood by Scott Brown is a must read for every woman and young lady! I got this short 85-page large-font paperback from Vision Forum and have found it expresses what I desired to share at the upcoming Mother-Daughter tea at my house in a far superior way. There are many quotes I'd like to share from this book. My favorite is Pillar 6: "A Helpmeet":
"And the Lord God said, 'It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.'" God designed women to be helpers, not leaders. This statement in Genesis 2:18, which makes them helpers, applies to all women. Some think the helping role applies only to married women. On the contrary, the Bible declares women to be helpers by nature, not only by marriage. This quality is part of her intrinsic constitution as a woman as Eve is the representative of all women--not just married women. In this way, a woman does not instantly become useful as a helper only when she gets married. She is a helper by nature, and a beneficial presence her whole life long...This means that parents need to specifically equip their daughters to play that role..."
Then speaking to daughters, he says:
"Since you are an unmarried daughter in your father's house, you are not the helpmeet of you father, in the same way that your mother is, but you are in training to be a most excellent helpmeet. By helping your father and mother, you are learning to someday be the helper you were designed to be."

Some might react to this teaching by saying, "But what if I NEVER get married??" But the answer is already given--you are ALREADY a helper. Continue in the role and help your father the best you can; you are of inestimable worth. You can help other women in their homes when they have a quiverful and are overwhelmed--come alongside and teach her children or do housework or use whatever gifts you can which are still home-centered.

The epilogue, written by Scott's wife Deborah, reads in part:
"Scripture indicates that the home is designed to be the central place where women glorify God. They do this through their obedience to the commands of God as they employ their gifts and fulfill their callings...Why then are we training our daughters toward a career outside the home? Why are we sending their hearts and affections in a different direction? What if we instead trained oru daughters to fulfill the biblical role of helper to a husband?...What if we truly trusted in the biblical pattern for our girls and deliberately prepared them for that and that alone?
"Is your heart overcome by fears of 'what if'? 'What if she doesn't get married? What if she has a passion for...?' 'What if her husband dies?'
When asking these questions we should remember that since the days of Adam and Eve God has taken care of mankind's fears and 'what if's. He has made provision for His people through the promises in His Word. We must trust His instructions all the while remembering that He "shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory" (Philippians 4:19
"It is for us to train our daughters after God's glorious design! It is for us to help them love the way of a woman!..."
Feminine By Design is written for teenage girls [I think it applies to all ages] to help them understand biblical femininity. Here Scott Brown explores some of the major passages of scripture that explain it. You will find the biblical texts that he used to teach his own daughters as he sought to "bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:$). His intention was to fulfill the appeal of Jesus in the Gard of Gethsemane, 'Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth."'(John 17:17)

It remains for us as mothers to properly disciple our daughters, but we must first have their hearts. It is a challenge for me to win the heart of my daughter and have her full attention, when I try to speak to these matters. Maybe I preach down to her too much. I must spend more time with her in hang-out time and just let her do the talking. She loves to do that :). I would be interested in any ideas you mothers have for others regarding winning the heart of their daughters.

Finally, a daughter must entrust her heart to her father as leader and protector of her while she is in his home. We will be giving tokens of our hearts to the daughters at the tea, along with note paper on which to write to their fathers. We will use Raising Maidens of Virtue by Stacy McDonald (another must-read) for letter-writing models.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Oats, Peas, Beans, and...Phytic Acid

Oats, Peas, Beans, and Barley Grow,
But better to soak them first. :)

Are you spending a lot of money on supplements to try and increase your mineral intake? I was until two months ago. I have been battling iron deficiency for years and relied on iron supplements to keep my levels up. Then I discovered I was probably wasting my money on supplements that my body was not even absorbing properly. Sally Fallon's book, Nourishing Traditions, has helped me realize the role that phytic acid plays in inhibiting mineral absorption. Phytates, or phytic acid, are responsible for inhibiting absorption of several essential minerals and is present in most nuts, grains, beans, and cereals. In addition, these foods have enzyme inhibitors that block the essential work of enzymes in breaking down all of our foods into absorbable forms. Usually, one can solve the problem by soaking these foods for 12 hours prior to cooking. The simple action of water neutralizes the phytates and enzyme inhibitors. The process is further aided if one adds probiotics or raises the pH by adding lemon juice to the water.
Now, I've made a new discovery about oatmeal and phytates. Amanda Rose, Ph.D. at has written a white paper on exactly how much phytic acid is present in a wide gamut of foods, and offers some very helpful kitchen techniques. Oatmeal, it turns out, is an exception to the rule. Soaking only reduces 30% of phytate levels in the oatmeal. So can you do about it?

The solution is adding 10% freshly ground wheat before soaking. Why? Wheat has phytase--an enzyme that breaks down phytates. See this link.

Unfortunately for gluten-sensitive people like me, this is not a good solution. However, Amanda also gives other solutions, such as eating a vitamin-C-rich food in that same meal.
There is also advice about corn and beans. Check it out.

Friday, March 19, 2010

A New Song: God Made Me A Helper (To the tune of I Love You A Bushel and A Peck)

God made me
A Helper-to-Be
A Helper-to-Be
For my family
My mom and daddy
and I can start right now
To please the Lord,
He'll give me strength somehow
I'll start now
To please God
Right now
A cheerful Helper I will be!

Just a simple little song for the younger girls at our mother-daughter tea. Listen to the original tune here, done by a cute couple of girl friends in nice harmony.

Update on Kefir-Making

Recently I posted about making kefir out of young Thai coconuts. Our friend Lindsey at Passionate Homemaking has found an easier, cheaper way--using canned coconut milk. I have ordered a case from Azure Standard and I am going to try it. Lindsey has a how-to video and instructions on her blog, along with lots of good tips. Lindsey is an amazing young lady. I first met her when her family came to my house while she was in courtship with the man who is now her husband. She has mastered the art of homemaking much younger than I; I have a lot to learn from her. As she points out, homemaking is a full-time job; there is no end to one's scope for imagination in the home.

In addition to organic recipes, her website has a wide variety of topics from how to reduce junk mail, to making an organized planner and natural personal-care products. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Woman's Calling: Helper Part 2

My friend and elder of our church was reviewing the thoughts I wrote and suggested I add some qualifiers. I heartily agreed.
My blog should not in any way imply that our lot in life as women is to be of any less value than that of men. We are all servants of the Most High God. We as Christians are bond-servants of Christ whether male or female. SO we stand equal before God. We have the same access to the Holy Spirit and His gifts. We are just as intelligent and capable as men. We are called help-meets because we are comparable to the men we help. However, we do fill different roles and operate in different spheres of influence. We manifest our service to Christ differently. Just as Paul writes that "one plants a seed, another waters, but God causes the growth", so it is that God has called men and women to fill various roles in spreading the gospel and producing godly offspring.

This is the complementarian view of gender, as opposed to the egalitarian view, which denies any differences between men and women with respect to their roles or even their physicality, as well as their relative value. Those who hold the complementarian view of scripture include Philip Lancaster, Douglas Wilson, John Piper, Wayne Grudem, and Douglas Phillips. A growing number of evangelicals are adopting an egalitarian (mis)interpretation of scripture. It is important that we understand these concepts and are firmly grounded in our understanding if we are to be following God's will as women. For more information on the topic see Desiring God Ministry's website here.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Going Crazy in the Kitchen

Do you enjoy cooking? I didn't used to. Right up until recently, it was just something I had to do to keep me and my family alive.

But God is changing even this old dog. Who says I can't learn new tricks? Between my daughter and daughter-in-law I'm learning how to fix foods the old, natural way. It's a lot of fun! Using The Body Ecology Diet and Nourishing Traditions books together, I've discovered some ways to make my candida dieting much more palatable. For instance, I was under the impression that I should not be eating any grains because of the high carb content. Not so. The B.E.D. diet says there are four grains I can eat that have low glycemic impact. Imagine my joy when I ate a bowlful of millet with clarified butter melted in. Mmmm! And I can make bread out of these grains. Yeehaw! Bread in my life again! I made two batches of bread this week, and they were yummy.

I had a blood allergy test done in December which showed allergies to wheat/gluten, milk, and egg among other things. That motivated me further to try to change my eating habits radically. I can really tell a difference from being off store-bought milk and yogurt. The lactose was evidently too sugary and left me feeling bloated after a smoothie. Now I make smoothies using young coconut kefir and coconut kefir cheese, raw greens, pure cranberry and/or lemon juice, and stevia. If I ever do get the candida symptoms to go away, I'll try throwing in some fruit.

We have started buying some organic products. I was amazed to find how sweet a batch of fresh organic chard was--it was actually sweet like beets, not bitter at all. And my new favorite green is Italian kale. Stir-fry it with some olive oil or coconut oil (organic of course) or butter and some onions. MMMM!

I'm also soaking all of the grains, seeds and nuts overnight before cooking or eating them. I use coconut kefir. This ensures that the grains are digestible enough, and actually neutralizes any phytic acid or enzyme inhibitors in the grains/seeds that lead to poor absorption of minerals and, ultimately, tooth decay. What a wonder to find out that teeth can re-calcify if we are taking these precautions and eating pre-soaked or sprouted grains in our diet!

Thank you, all you ladies in my life who have helped gently prod me on this journey. There have been half a dozen who have shared this or that gem and helped me down this new adventure. And thank you, Lord, for giving me the strength to be on my feet more than I have in years, as I work with joy in the kitchen.

My husband is not so crazy about the changes. My bread wasn't his favorite. And even I didn't much enjoy the beef liver I served a couple of weeks ago. He chokes at the price we are paying for raw milk now. But he is being a good sport. Maybe my increasing strength is convincing him to put up with it all.

Woman's Calling: Helper

I have been praying and thinking about hosting a mother-daughter tea and wondering what I should share as a devotional. God is giving me a whole bunch of good tidbits to share. Now I need to organize them. For now here is a tidbit.

Women were created to be helpers--a comparable help-mate for her man. See Genesis 1. The Holy Spirit is called the Paraclete, which is Greek for Helper. So we women are a type of the Third Person of the Trinity in that we are also helpers. If even Almighty God is called our Helper, should we then feel demeaned by such a title?

What are some characteristics of the Holy Spirit that we can emulate?
1. He does not seek His own glory, but that of another. When the name of Jesus Christ is exalted, the Holy Spirit is at work. The Holy Spirit operates by the motto "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30)
2. He helps by providing the support, the strength, the power necessary for others to flourish.
3. He works almost secretively, in cognito. His effective work is often mistaken for that of another, often human, agent. Yet He is okay with that, for He does not seek His own glory. "The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." (John 3:8)

Doesn't this describe well our condition as home-centered women? We often work to assist our husbands so they can flourish in the marketplace or civic circle. Yet we do not get a lot of credit for it. Our names are "lost" in that of our husbands when we take on their surname. In earlier days a woman would even give up her first name in public by signing "Mrs. John Smith". Douglas Wilson, in his book Reforming Marriage, points out that this practice was rooted in a biblical understanding of a wife's role as helper. It rubs most of us the wrong way today, steeped as we are in egalitarian thought.

SO we must ask ourselves the hard questions: am I willing to give up my identity for the sake of my husband's name? Do I love him enough to lose myself in him? Am I willing to focus on his needs more than my own, and break my back for his benefit?
This is no more than what Christ did for me: "7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant,being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." (Phil. 2) Can I do any less?

Mr. Wilson also points out that a man's calling is defined by what type of occupation he chooses, while a woman's calling is defined more by the particular man she is called to help. Not what she does, but who she helps.

A woman's activities are not limited to the home; nor are they narrow in scope and aspect. She can help her husband with his occupation; if she is widowed, she can fill the shoes he emptied, for her continued support. She can consider a field and buy it, and steward it to bring him and her children greater wealth.

If a woman goes to work for another man or woman, however, she needs to consider--is she helping her own husband to flourish, or is another man benefiting more from her help?

Monday, February 1, 2010

God is Good! We are Mortgage-Free!

Today I wired the payoff payment to our mortgage company. We own our house free and clear! Thank you Lord! Yahoo!
A friend asked me today how long it took us. If you count the payments we've been making since our first house, building equity as we sold and re-bought and did it again for our present, third house, it has been twenty-two years. We had originally hoped to pay off in fifteen, but we were tempted into upgrading to larger, nicer houses whenever there was a bubble in the housing market, and continued to increase our debt service. However, we have stayed put in this house for fifteen years, riding through the worst bubble burst in history (2007). We also benefited from dropping interest rates and refinanced twice until our last mortgage had only 4.25%. We don't deserve such favor. But it does show that a SILK (Single-Income, Lots of Kids)family can still make it and do well if one is frugal and follows practical biblical principles. We have never bought any new vehicles on time. The only debt we have carried is for the house. We might have been smarter to put more money down and avoided tens of thousands in interest dollars; but we can hope our children have learned from us to do even better than we did. Indeed, Nathan hopes to pay for their house in less than seven years--a good biblical number.
Soli Deo Gloria!

Year-End Sleadd Newsletter for 2009

Oh, goodness, I'm behind on blogging and corresponding. Here is our year-end newsletter. Enjoy.

2009 Sleadd End-of-Year Newsletter

Words from Alexa
Well, though you may not believe it, all of us Sleadds got a year older than we were last year--except for Mother, of course, because mothers are ageless. I might take the liberty at this time to disclose all those things that nobody will bother to mention: like the fact that Dad’s consistent reliance on reading spectacles really helps complete his studious pastor image. (He just gave his 66th sermon, and I have yet to fall asleep during one of them.)
What’s new with me? My parents get regular stress-management tests in the passenger seat while I practice my driving skills. I’ve only been pulled over once for driving like I had ADHD, so no worries. I’m now a reluctant senior, because, as a homeschooler, I’m not sure when I want to graduate. (Mother’s note: we plan to graduate her in 2011 with her age-mates). I really enjoy doing graphic design/photography-related projects and maybe it’ll turn out to be an occupational pursuit. Nathan says he’ll hire me as soon as I’ve taught myself how to use CS7 and Illustrator (computer programs). Grandma Steves has been very indulgent, taking me on multiple photography trips and letting me use her equipment. Now she has given me her laptop to use for my photos; I feel so spoiled!

I’d have to say a continual highlight for me is church every week. Our church is growing a lot, but is still small enough to know everybody. I’m just in awe at what God is doing through the people, and Sunday is always a sanctuary in a busy week! We’re “family integrated”, so when I say I like to see “my friends” at church, it’s inclusive of people of all ages. Aaron built a website (and I helped design it) for our church so check it out:

I got braces last January, and had some minor gum surgery. Only got six months to go, before I can get all this metal out of my mouth!

Caleb’s a 7th grader now. (Mother’s note: he’s also getting taller and quite lanky.) His favorite pastime is reading and grazing in the kitchen. He eats everything in sight—if he’s not allergic to it.

Aaron, the brilliant fellow, coordinated a show called “A Night of Music”, in which he used a lot of Dad’s originals. We had a whole bunch of our teenage friends involved with singing, dancing, and playing various instruments. I made a flyer to advertise, we used the church building, and we made lots of memories with rehearsals and pizza! The turnout was fantastic. We also realized that Aaron played drums on every song except one!

Last Fourth of July, Mom and Dad gave Aaron a .12 shotgun, and Nathan a .22 as sort of a patriotic celebration of the right to bear arms… I’ve tried the shotgun a few times, and boy it’s got kick!

In October Nathan and Colleen bought their first house in downtown Grants Pass. It’s a cute little place built in 1900; Nathanael (Naomi’s husband) built them a shed and replaced eleven windows, and installed a dishwasher.

On the health front, Aaron keeps dislocating his shoulder (see picture). A genetic tendency, unfortunately. The Swine Flu really swept through our area, and everybody knows someone who had it. We all got sick too, but it may have been a seasonal bug. We knew some acquaintances/friends who were hospitalized, and it seemed like everyone in church was sick for awhile, but all seem to have recovered, thankfully.

Home improvement
One exciting part of our year has been the remodel. Nathanael, my brother-in-law, worked on our house for two months. Our current situation is no different on the inside of the kitchen yet; we just have the enclosed addition outside the kitchen. Caleb and I sure appreciated the interruption of our arduous school schedule to run out and do odd jobs for Nathanael. And with all the demolition debris lying around, I stepped on a nail, (which didn’t get past my sole), while Caleb fell and got a fat one in his knee. Ouch. We also completely re-shingled our house. That was an experience! Apparently the previous lazy roofers came to the conclusion that whacking down a third layer over the top was easier than tearing up the old shingles. So we had ourselves a big mess. We tore off the three layers and spent several weeks picking out tons of brittle flakes of shingle out of our lawn and hauling away load after load. One highlight was ripping off the bathroom roof, and interrupting an ant civilization therein. They had networked through the gypsum in the drywall ceiling and if anyone had poked it from underneath, they would have unleashed a shower of biting ants. That’s not the kind of shower you want in a bathroom. It happened anyway. We’re still killing an occasional ant.

Our well, which had been losing flow for several years, finally went dry this summer. After a temporary fix of buying city water to fill our holding tank (chlorinated—tasted awful!), we had another existing well drilled deeper, to 300 feet. It was an expensive mess, but we have plenty of tasty, clear water now!

Words from John
What highlights from 2009 come to mind? Here are a few.

I ran in a 10 mile race in April just to see if I could do it at fifty years of age. I spent five weeks warming up for it (3 jogs a week) and was grateful to make it to the end without passing out and spasming in front of the crowds at the finish line. I’m content to wait another 50 years to try such a thing again.

I enjoyed six glorious days with Arden in the tropical paradise of Kauai, Hawaii. It was beautiful and restful. We had fun exploring the island, visiting resorts, eating out and relaxing. I took some short solo hikes to scenic spots. Snorkeling among the colorful fish, that would gather when I snapped my fingers under water, was a thrill.

I was assigned to teach third grade this year at school and am enjoying working with a sweet batch of little whipper snappers. I will most likely be moved to fourth grade next year.

It was fascinating to watch Nathanael remodel the backside and roof of our house. I enjoyed coming home from school each day to marvel at the progress. I got to do some electrical work. I decided to hire out the plumbing to a professional.
I enjoyed another year of studying and preaching God’s Word in Household of Faith Community Church. It is a blessing and an honor to work with such wonderful people. As a bi-vocational pastor I preach two Sundays a month, and the other fine men on the teaching team preach on the other Sundays. Nathan and Aaron Sleadd both preached at HOFGP in 2009.

Words from Arden
We have so much to be thankful for: new well, new add-on, new grandsons. Our grandson population tripled this year with the births of James Christian Phillips (March 12) and Brock Alexander Sleadd (July 10). They are growing up strong and lively and are the joy of our lives.

Aaron graduated from high school along with a dozen other home school comrades. We are very proud of his hard work ethic. He is still interning as a computer programmer and working for Nathan as warehouse manager while living at home and driving a $500 Toyota Tercel—that is, he was driving it, until it threw a rod or something. (P.S. Aaron has replaced the Tercel with Nathan’s Stratus, who bought a new/used truck.)

I have only two children left to homeschool this year, Alexa 16 and Caleb 12, and it seems much easier. For once I feel organized!

For the last eighteen years I have battled fibromyalgia, and every year I have tried something new, to be disappointed with the results. This year was no exception; I took an antiviral for a year to combat HHV-6 and EBV, both implicated as possible causes of FMS and chronic fatigue. Though the treatment succeeded in lowering my antibody levels, my symptoms are largely unchanged. Now I am on Sporanox, an antifungal, to treat systemic yeast, in hopes that my red-hot, burning feet will respond.

In August John and I spent our 25th anniversary in Kauai, Hawaii. It was a wonderful week spent together in paradise. I had much help and prayer from John and my friends just to get me there. I agonized for months over the wisdom of planning such a trip, right up to the day we left, but God made a way and I enjoyed it greatly. We spent a day at my cousin Anita’s on the layover in Seattle, and we talked for hours to catch up on our lives. We saw soaring tropical birds over flood-swollen falls muddy from a storm. We saw turtles cavorting in the waves. We had great food and Polynesian entertainment at a luau. See more pics and a video clip at my blog. The twice-daily swims in the hotel pool helped me improve so much, I learned my lesson that daily water exercise was what I needed, and have continued them to this day. It has made a significant difference.

Caleb and I were both found to be allergic to dairy, wheat/gluten, eggs, and half a dozen other foods this year, so much time and attention has been diverted to changing our eating habits. Alexa, the chief cook, has been quite accommodating, but she’s a busy gal so I am pushing myself to the limit preparing more raw veggies for my diet. I’m trying the Body Ecology Diet (which targets candida) with Naomi’s help. John is as healthy as a horse.

We are currently reducing our flock of hens because 1) the egg business is not a money-maker, 2) two of us are allergic to eggs, 3) the kids have lost interest, and 4) John has lost willingness to spend any more money or time on their accommodations. Last summer a large, multi-colored, exotic rooster with long, black tail feathers found his way onto our property. He was in seventh heaven with so many dames. We let him stick around for some weeks until we noticed the hens’ egg production dropping precipitously and their behavior growing more aggressive and broody. Since we couldn’t find the cock’s original owners, Caleb and I drove him down to the nearest riverside park and let him loose. I hope he didn’t become food for another critter.

Come spring we hope to start again on phase II of the remodel. John and the kids also have big plans to visit the KY/DC Sleadd relations in the summer. So life doesn’t get much fuller, and we are blessed.

In the midst of economic and national uncertainty, God still reigns supreme. He has kept us in the hollow of His hand and blessed us, materially and spiritually. We can only stand amazed in His presence. May 2010 be a year of blessing for you as well.

In Christ’s Love,
John, Arden, Aaron, Alexa, and Caleb Sleadd