Baseball: The first season

This year Nehemiah and Noah were blessed with the opportunity to join the Keystone Recreation Association's youth baseball team. The team did well, and closed the season with a .500 average . Nehemiah primarily played center field and left, but was able to pitch for a few innings. Noah played right-field, left-field and spent some time at shortstop. Both boys were selected to be lead-off batters in different games. Nehemiah's first base hit was an 2 RBI triple to right-field. Noah had several hard hits as well. Both were able make catches in the outfield.

Noah is shown (middle) on the home-field bench, while waiting for their turn to field. Since the team had more than 9 players, some spent time on the bench.
Nehemiah is shown above waiting outside the batting cages. Nehemiah's best catch came during an away game at Middleburg. Keystone was leading 7-6, and it was the bottom of the last inning. There were two outs, and a man on second. The Middleburg batter hit a deep fly to center field, and most everyone thought it would be a base hit. If the ball got past the fielder, both runs would likely score, and the game would be lost. Nehemiah (center fielder) saw the ball coming, and backed up as fast as he could. Leaping into the air, he managed to snag the ball for the last out! Needless to say, we were all proud of him, especially considering his catch won the game! It was the first game, and one of the best.

We were all able to enjoy Nehemiah and Noah's games, as we all made friends and learned much from the coaches. Baseball has been an exciting part of this year!

Note: A big thanks goes to Mr. and Mrs. G for providing the excellent pictures!


Reformation Day 2010

A view of Martin Luther's Study room in Wartburg Germany.
*Above picture taken from Sacred-Destinations.com
This year, we are once again celebrating Reformation Day, on Sunday October 31st. We will meet at Friendship Bible Church at 6:00. A brief lecture by Dan Cook, on various Reformers, will be followed by refreshments, games, and crafts in the fellowship hall. We hope to see you there for a great time of fellowship and learning!


Medieval Fair

Yesterday we had a great turnout for the Medieval fair. Over 50 people were on hand! We had a great time fencing, jousting, practicing archery, running footraces, and various other games and just enjoying each others company. Below are a few pictures we have received from Mrs. Smoak. I will be sure to post more when I receive them, and put them up on Snapfish.

One of two Merry men, "Daniel O'Dale"

Anne teaching some children Croquet

Ezra and Knight Elijah

Thanks for reading. We'll be sure to post more pictures as soon as possible!


Cocoa Beach Trip

Last weekend, (18-19) we were able to visit Papa in Cocoa Beach. He is currently doing several courses, over a four week span. The weekend we visited him, preceded his last week in Cocoa. We were able to swim in the pool, and at the beach, and spend a lot of time together.

I was preparing to take a picture of the rest of the family (right before we left) when some men from Papa's work (who were also taking a class) pulled into the parking lot, and offered to take a group photo. It was great timing!

This is just part of the view of the beach we enjoyed from Papa's room. He had a large window!

Abigail enjoyed looking out the hotel window for cars.

Sunsets in Cocoa are beautiful--especially from our vantage point on the 6th story of the Hilton. Sunsets like this one remind me of how great God is.


Mummified Apples

Last week, we unburied our mummified apple out of the baking-soda/salt mixture. Our camera was not working at the time, so I sketched pictures of what the apples looked like. When we dumped out the mixture, our mummified apple had to be "excavated"! The inner baking-soda and salt had hardened to form a shell around the apple, and when tapped with a butter knife, fell apart. It was colored a dull yellow inside. When we compared the two apples, this is what we found.

The "mummified" apple was considerably shrunken--about the same size as our control apple. (The apple that just sat out) However, the marked difference was that the mummy-apple was dry, firm, and light-colored. It had a dry section of peel still intact around it's stem.

The control apple was bruised, smelly, and darkly colored. It also had a small section of peel around the stem, but it was wet and floppy.

Somehow, the baking soda and salt preserved the apple and kept it dryer, although it shrunk. The other apple would have eventually wasted into nothing, while attracting lots of bugs. This experiment from our Anatomy book showed us that certain mixtures of chemicals can preserve things. (Like the Egyptians did to corpses)


CFHS Medieval Fair

On September 25th, we will be hosting the CFHS* 2nd Annual Medieval Fair. Located at our house, it is a time of fun where we get together with family and friends, and enjoy doing various medieval style activities including: fencing, jousting, archery, croquet, foot races, bocce ball and more! The festivities begin at 1:00 pm. Medieval costumes are optional but welcome. We look forward to seeing you!
*Cook Family Homeschool


LEGO Narnia Comic

This is the first LEGO Narnia comic I have made to be released on the internet. The following comics will be kept as close to the original Narnia series by C.S. Lewis as possible. Please keep posted for more. -NehemiahC


Sunday Softball

Last Sunday, Daniel, Nehemiah, and I [Joseph] went to Little Rain Lake Park to play Softball with a few people from Church, and their friends. We had a good 20+ people arrive--more than enough for two teams. It was a lot of fun playing! Mrs. Griffis kindly gave us these pictures of the game.
This is me watching the ball to make sure it wasn't caught. I made it to second, and came around to score 1 batter later. Mr. Warren (in the Pujols shirt) is pictured in the background.

Daniel is pictured here in one of his many at bats. Daniel made it to base safely (over 4 times) either by hitting or walking. Daniel and I were on the same team, and hit back to back--which made for a good combination considering we both almost always made it on base each at bat!

Nehemiah is pictured here after a foul bunt. Nehemiah had a few hits, and an excellent display of defense. (Several well timed grabs).
Softball, baseball and the like are always a lot of fun, especially when played with friends. In fact, we boys often play baseball (with a tennis ball) on the front lawn. It's been America's favorite past-time, and it will always be ours too!

"First" day of School

Today is the "first" day of school. The reason that is in quotation marks is because at our house, school is not confined to dates. Nonetheless, we have begun school full force today. We have a schedule which loosely defines what we're doing at a given point in the day.
We will be continually changing it over the course of the year, and despite activities (doctors appointments etc.) it works quite well for helping us keep on pace during the day.
We each have quite a lot of subjects to cover. Above is a sample--a stack of Noah's schoolbooks this year. Subjects are not limited to books however. Drawing, Physical Excercise (i.e. Baseball) and leisure reading are just a few.
I [Joseph] am teaching Anatomy to Noah and Elijah. Today we learned about how the Egyptians knew a good deal about human anatomy--especially regarding the preservation of a corpse. The experiment we had today involved "mummifying" an apple! We put it in a mix of baking soda and salt and are supposed to let it sit for a week. We'll find out what happens next Monday--but I'm assuming it will be mummified in some way!
For a while I've been saving up for a bicycle--I got it online from Walmart.com, and it shipped in last week from Sacramento CA. Mama had some packages that needed to be delivered, so Daniel and I biked to the post office in town, and took a leisurely ride home through Immokalee, and down Bedford Lake Rd. It is a lot of fun riding--especially now that the weather is starting to cool off some.
We will keep you posted on events that happen and we hope you enjoy reading our blog!


Champion Reader

As a family, we recently participated in the Putnam County reading program. Lasting from June 12th-July 30th, the goal was to see who could read the most books. Over 5 libraries participated, including Melrose, which we often visit. All of us read books, (including Abigail) but Noah definitely read the most. He read the most books not only in the Melrose Library, but in all of Putnam county. He read a total of 334 books! Noah received a trophy and a "Key of Knowledge" award.


Late Night Trip

Saturday night (the 14th) the whole family was in Jacksonville/Orange Park to run errands, and pick up Papa when his airplane arrived from Virginia. We had already gone by Wal-Mart, Jo-Ann's, Starbucks, and Texas Roadhouse when we found out Papa's plane was delayed, and would not arrive until around midnight. Thus, we found something fun to do---mini golf! We had coupons from the library, and decided it would be a great time to use them.
One of the many animal statues around the course, Elijah is next to this unique "sharp-toothed" hippo.

Noah, Nehemiah, and I [Joseph] next to the waterfall. The family split into two teams on two courses. We did the "Paradise Lost" course, and each got a hole-in-one! All of us made our shots in three or less for the majority of the course.

After mini-golfing we arrived at the airport but still had time to burn. Thankfully Nehemiah had brought a glove and baseball, so we played catch in next to the parking lot. Later that night (I'm not sure when) Papa's airplane arrived and we picked him up. We arrived home around 2:00! Papa headed off to another course this week, but will be back on the weekend.
It was great being together as family, and we can always have fun--no matter what time it is!


Camp Good News

Photo courtesy of Camp Good News

This week (Aug 8-14) marked the 4th week I (Joseph) have served at Camp Good News. Located in picturesque Hawthorne FL, Camp Good News is a ministry of CEF. (Child Evangelism Fellowship) Dozens of children show up on weekdays during the Summer (occasionally a few weeks in the winter and spring). Both Anne and I had the opportunity to serve this year. The normal day lasts from 9:00-5:00, and is filled with activities. Just a few of them include: playground, activity field, Reptile Round-up (a place to keep caught lizards/snakes) South Twin Lake, the water slide, and much more.

I often work with children, (especially at home!) but I had never worked in a camp environment before. The weeks I spent at CGN were important to me in many ways.

The first, is the chance I had to grow closer to Christ through devotions by myself and with the children--plus every night I was able to worship with the other counselors . The relatively secluded environment of Camp allowed for much thought and study in The Word.

The second, is that I had the chance to befriend and work with many children. They all come from different home situations, and are all varied ages and it has been a joy learning about God alongside them, whether in Bible time, or just talking one-on-one. They regularly test my patience to the limit--but God uses them to teach me how to improve.

The third reason CGN has been such a good experience, is the fellowship I have experienced. Thursday night is usually "counselor night" where we have a BBQ dinner, a swim in the lake, and worship time. I have met new friends, and had the chance to work with those I knew. Being with other counselors was one of the most exciting things of CGN.

Camp Good News has proved a friendly, Christ-filled experience where I grew in Christ, made friends, and ministered to others. Though extremely trying at times, it strengthened me, and taught me things I probably wouldn't have learned elsewhere.


Noah's Catch

Recently, Nehemiah, Noah, Elijah, and the neighbor boys were fishing at the lake, when Noah reeled in this big bass. It's approximately 15 inches long, and although we never weighed it, it was probably a few pounds. This is by far the largest bass anyone of us has caught--and the fillets are big enough to feed a couple of us Fishing in the Summer is always reel fun!

A few pictures from Daniel's trip

This picture of me was taken outside the Rhea County Courthouse. During Summit John Stonestreet gave us alumni a tour of the courthouse. During the tour we toured the museum and sat in the courtroom and talked about the events leading up to the trial.

This picture has me (In my newly earned Blue Beret) next to a P-51 C Mustang painted in the colors of the Tuskegee Airmen.

This is a picture I took during National Blue Beret while on duty, at sunset, in the Warbirds section of AirVenture 2010 in Oshkosh Wisconsin. The USAF labeled airplane is a C-47.


Daniel is Home

I am finally home after two weeks of Summit and two weeks of Civil Air Patrol's National Blue Beret. I want to thank everyone who prayed for me. God was very good to me this summer. If you would like the complete story I have it in an email. You can email me at inordertokeepit@gmail.com and I will send it to you. It is two thousand two hundred plus words.

- Daniel Cook


Philadelphia Trip: Condensed

Our second trip to Pennsylvania in two years, was successful in many ways. It occurred during May, and I have just recently compiled the photos, and taken the time to write about it. We were able to visit many historic sites including (but not limited to) Fort McHenry, Tybee Island Lighthouse, Fort Scriven, Manassas Battlefield (Bull Run), Brandywine Battlefield, and a few others. We also visited the Franklin Institute. Our main goal, however, was to visit Grammy. (Mama's mother). Here is a brief description of our trip, in pictures.

The first major stop was at Manassas Battlefield, also called Bull Run. This is where Thomas Jackson earned his nickname "Stonewall" when he repelled the Union forces and turned the tide in the battle, earning a Confederate Victory. We were able to look at the larger-than-life statue of Jackson, and walked on the huge, grassy fields.

We also looked at the landmark simply known as the "Stone Bridge". The Union forces retreated over this same bridge centuries ago. It was nice to hear the "run" (small offshoot of a river) flow past as wind stirred the large trees. All of us children were able to complete our Junior Ranger programs, earning patches and badges.

Immediately following our visit to Manassas VA, we drove to Maryland to visit Fort McHenry. It was a relatively small fort, but very pretty. We enjoyed doing Jr. Ranger books, especially with the beautiful breeze coming off the Chesapeake Bay. Abigail enjoyed walking inside the visitor center, looking at some of the displays.

Anna and Ezra enjoyed looking at the cannons, especially considering they could almost walk under it!

When we visited the fort, they had the second-largest flag of theirs flying. (When winds are above 12 MPH, the flagpole cannot support the largest one) Nevertheless, it was quite a majestic sight as it rippled above the fort. In the visitor center, after watching a video about the history of Ft. McHenry, a curtain rolled back to expose a view of the fort, with the flag flying over it. It was a moving experience as we sung the national anthem, knowing full well what that the fort and flag were more than just objects--they symbolized all those who had given their lives for God and country.

While visiting at Grammy's house, we had the chance to visit the Franklin Institute. I [Joseph] was able to climb in a fighter jet the had on display. That alone was just one of many interactive exhibits. There were exhibits about Weather, Gears, Flight, and much more.

One of the favorite exhibits involved testing pulleys. In this picture, Papa is helping Elijah pull his "chair" up the wall.
In Pennsylvania, we visited the site of a Grist Mill. The mill was powered in the basement of a large house, by an underwater stream. Near the surface of the stream, there was a beautiful waterfall!
Brandywine Battlefield was the largest engagement of troops during the Revolutionary War. It happened on September 11, 1777, and was a fight between the Continental Army led by General George Washington and the British forces headed by General William Howe. We visited the Brandywine Battlefield visitor center and battle grounds. Ezra enjoyed finding the dandelions and exploring the battlefield with us.
While at Brandywine, we saw a very old tree, which was alive at the signing of the Constitution! (That makes this tree over 223 years old!) It took All of us from Anne, to Anna, to stretch hands around it!
After visiting with Grammy for a few days, we headed back home at night, because the A/C was out in the van. Papa and Anne took turns driving from Philly, all the way to Savannah Georgia! Upon arrival (and breakfast) we visited the Tybee Island Lighthouse, and Fort Scrivens. Above I [Joseph] am next to a large anti-ship gun based at Ft. Scrivens during WWII.

Upon arrival in Keystone, we saw these clouds as we crossed over Lake Brooklyn. A display of God's beautiful handiwork was a fitting end to our wonderful trip!

Written By Joseph Cook


Ezra 3rd Birthday

Yesterday Ezra celebrated his third birthday. The birthday party marked more than just a celebratory occasion however. While reading a book last year, I learned that Jewish families have a custom of letting little boys' hair grow out, until the age of three when they have a "hair-cutting party". We enjoyed Ezra's beautiful golden hair, but by the age of three, we too had decided to give him a trim. Consequently, we invited some friends over to help, and enjoy the party.

Ezra during his hair-cut

Ezra after the cut, enjoying a present.Ezra, Nehemiah, and the 3-d train cake which Anne made.


Frog Foto

I couldn't resist sharing this cute photo. This "smiling" frog was in our Water Garden a few days ago. Our Water Garden has become a haven for toads and frogs, which live under the bottom basin. We don't mind them, because I'm pretty sure they keep the mosquito population at a lower level. Plus, they're pretty cute!

Busch Gardens 2010

Last Wednesday, Papa, Mama, Nehemiah, Anna and I [Joseph] went to Busch Gardens for our annual trip. When we first arrived, we waited in line for a few minutes, but managed to get our tickets fairly quickly. I had typed up a document which listed all the rides we wanted to go on, plus it had information about the animals we were going to see. We spent the whole day enjoying the sunshine, rides, and amazing animals located all throughout the park.
Nehemiah and I rode several roller coasters, as did Mama and Papa.The rides were a lot of fun, but I enjoyed seeing the animals the most. One of the most interesting animals there, was called the "Gharial". I couldn't get a picture because he was very sneaky, and wouldn't pose! The Gharial (also called the Tomistoma) is a crocodile-like creature, with a long skinny snout. We also saw Meerkats, Lions, Tigers, and lots of gorillas/monkeys/chimps! Here are a few photos from our trip.

This is me, next to a large sculpted monkey!

Anna really enjoyed the carousel!

Anna took the motorcycle ride seriously, keeping her eyes on the road!

Papa, riding a warhorse on the Carousel

Mr. Mallard was one of the non-official residents of Busch Gardens.
Anna requested that her picture be taken with this chimp statue!

The hippos were amazingly agile underwater, and purposefully passed by the glass to seemingly "show off"!
Nehemiah and Anna posed next to a huge tiger sculpture.

The majestic lion reminded me of Revelation 5:5 where Jesus is called "The Lion of Judah"

Thank you for reading. Keep "posted" for more updates on the Cooks!