Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Working as a family

We are in the middle of a busy year with CocoaConf, our family business of 2 years.  It is a traveling programming conference, and it specializes serving those who program for Apple devices (iPad, iPhone, Mac computers).   The Lord puts just the right people in our path to provide the content, and we work on all the logistics and marketing.

We began by offering event after event, spread out through the year.  However, this year, we tried a "spring tour," having four events.  We have finished that, and though we are a bit worn out, it seems like the change was an improvement.  We are getting good reviews from many attendees and there seems to be an interest in future events.

Starting a new business has a great deal of uncertainty, and we have been trying to depend on the Lord for wisdom along the way.  An important priority for us is family involvement.  This could not just be something more that Dave has to do.  We needed something that we could do together.  After ten events, we have seen that become much more of a reality, as the kids take on more and more responsibilities with Dave managing things.  There is still a need for parental (and business) direction, but since it is a family business, that is mostly built-in.

Besides just the working aspect, we also have a desire for our children to have opportunities to interact with people, but with us there to help in guiding them.  Sending them to the mall with their age-mates is not our idea of teaching them how to interact with people.  But learning to serve and interact with people of various ages and backgrounds from around the world is something we consider a great opportunity for all of us.  And if people notice our massive tribe and want to know what makes our family, um, special, they will have the opportunity.

We had years full of just little ones, feeling like we were always on the receiving end, wishing we could be of help to others.  We now see those years as an investment, and realize that the various bumps in the road (broken doorknobs, toilet seats, dresser drawers) not only gave us opportunities to learn patience, but also the resourcefulness to teach our children (in baby steps) to learn to help and work and figure things out.  These opportunities were not in a sterile classroom, but in real life.  So, CocoaConf is just another real life opportunity.


Another family project we are excited about is our upcoming summer in the state of Washington, working alongside our friends, Lloyd and Doris Anderson, of the 7 Wonders Creation Museum at Mount St Helens.  We posted previously about their work, and we received an invitation to come learn the ropes, and pray about how we might help in the future.  They feel there is more that could be done with this ministry if there was more hands on deck.  So, we are making plans for making yet another cross-country trek, bookended by a couple of west coast CocoaConfs.  We will miss our dear friends in St Louis, but trust God has a great summer planned for each one, and we anticipate the Lord will teach us lots as we seek his will for how we can serve Him!

Schedule change

We have been notified by the organizers of the Missouri Christian Homeschool Fellowship (CHEF) that we will not be permitted to have exhibitor space at their upcoming conference next week. We received a brief email in March, followed by a refund of our exhibitor fees.

The organizers told us that it is because of differences with our theology and direction.

We attempted to communicate with them over the past weeks via three emails, but we had no response. Finally, we called, but it is a done deal. That is why we are just posting this now.

While we do have differences in theology and direction, we share similar theology and direction with many of their past speakers and exhibitors. But we trust that the Lord will use this situation for good.

So, we will miss those of you whom we expected to see at the conference. May the Lord guide you as you seek first His kingdom.

Lord willing, we will share more in future posts about how theology and direction affects our goals as homeschoolers. It is a very important topic.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Welcome to our Open Bus!

It took some explaining the concept to some people.  

Open Bus?   

But we had a wonderful Open Bus, 
and we wanted to share some wonderful pictures with you!  
Most were taken by our friends, the Kellums and the Drestes!  Thanks guys!!!

This is Daniel Amos Klein, welcoming you to his Open Bus.

This is Obadiah, with his big sister Allison.  He doesn't have a bus.  Yet.  
His family came from farthest away to view the spectacle.  


These are some of our friends who came to check out Daniel's bus.
We had lots of friends from our fellowship who came, and several neighbors.  
We just didn't take enough pictures!
We are new at the Open Bus hosting thing.

Daniel is sitting with Annah.  Daniel is holding a cool twistie baloon inflated by Mrs. Dreste.  
Shaped like a alligator or something.  She is pretty good, huh?
Mrs. Dreste quickly volunteered to be the twistie baloon inflator and did a wonderful job!

The dads had a good time of chatting about extra-bus topics.  
They did talk a bit about the bus, too.  I think they are getting the vision.

It poured down rain on our Open Bus, so we only had like 60 visitors.

It really poured down rain the entire time.  But it was plenty warm.
Oh, what is funny is the bus was almost not even working in time for the Open Bus!  
We ran it out of diesel and it would have been stuck in our steep driveway, 
and any guests would have just slid all the way out the back door!  
But we thank the Lord we got it running, 
so we moved it to our sweet neighbors' level driveway across the street.

It looks like they are thinking about all these yummy cookies.  
They were yummy, 
but I don't remember them being as yummy as they look in this picture.  
Probably because we munched on some many broken ones, 
we were a little sick of them at the time.

Here is Daniel on Samantha's lap.  
Know what he's thinking about?  
Yummy cookies.

This Samantha's sister, Lilly.  
Her mom is a twistie balloon expert!  
She blew up so many balloons!

We tried to doll up the bunk beds and seats to make things look cozy.  
The curtains were made years ago by Grandma Jemelie, 
and we have brought them from house to house through the years.  
I think they are ten years old!
They fit the bus windows perfectly!  
Just need a more Klein-proof curtain rod for them.

We had lots of snacks at our Open Bus.  Cheese balls were the favorite.

We ordered a special bus cookie cutter, 
because we couldn't find one at Walmart.  Seriously. 


We had a covered table outside in the rain, 
so people could get drinking water.  Seriously!

We cleaned up the bus so nicely, we couldn't recognize it!  
We hung posters on the wall of the kids working on the bus (painting and stuff).  
The kids did it all.

Oh, another funny thing was that on the day of the Open Bus -- 
the roof leaked! 
 We noticed a big, unsightly puddle in our nice new bathroom!  
So we got an ice cream bucket 
and that helped until we could re-do the caulk on the roof.  
Keeps us humble.

This is Suby drinking water in the rain.

This is baby Olive and her mommy.  Olive is 5 days older than Daniel.

Our photographers were really thinking about the cookies.  What do you think?

I mean to tell you, it did nothing but rain the whole time!

Our hostesses.

This is our wonderful neighbor, Mr. Poenicke.  
He knows all about buses and is a big help to us.  
He let us park our bus in his driveway, because ours is too steep.  
He was badly hurt in an accident last summer, and nearly died! 
He was ready to go to be with the Lord,  
but the Lord had more plans for him and he is home with his family!

He was our first Open Bus guest, 
and I think he enjoyed his visit.  

Pre-CHEA Family Camp!

We are looking forward to the 2013 Wisconsin CHEA conference next month and hope to see some or all of you there!

In advance of the conference, we are camping for a few days at Lake Farm Park in Madison.  You are welcome to camp out with us, by reserving a campsite, or meeting up with us for the day(s) or evening(s) as you are able.  The office said visitors are welcome at the campground until 10 PM.  

So, we are reserving spaces 41, 50, and 44 (we have to get a bunch for our family since we are a bunch of people!).  If you are willing and able to camp, you can scope out the available sites here.

That will tell you where we are, and you can choose a campsite accordingly.  Campsites are about $26 a night with electricity, $17 without.   Here is a list of campsites.  (You may have to click on Lake Farm Park.)

We are thinking of doing pot luck style dinners and campfires on Monday and Tuesday evenings.  During the day, we would have time for fellowship and hiking and things.  We don't have anything really planned. 

Please let us know if you can make it!

How to draw "the fear of the Lord"

We received a really great question from a parent of an 8 and 5 year old:  How do you draw "the fear of the Lord"?  It appears so often, I feel I need to include it.

Here are some ideas:

The "fear of the Lord" is kind of abstract, isn't it.  You can't draw it all by itself.  It reminds me of another abstract that we have had to teach our children:  the word "no".

With our oldest children, we didn't really consult God's Word too much; we were christians, but we relied on popular "wisdom" and we got the vibe that you don't teach "no" before age 2 or something like that.  I don't know, we just felt like it was frowned upon to expect little ones to understand that.  

The way it played out was that one day, we finally realized "This is ridiculous," and started telling our toddler "no".  So one day, they woke up, and there was this new expectation on them.  That went over less than stellar.  It made for a challenging and stressful transition to say the least.

With our last two babies, we taught "no" very early.  We started at around 5 or 6 months old!   It was easy!  Well, actually it was fun.  They would innocently grab an object, and we would say "no" (no spanking or yelling) and remove their hand.  Maybe we would do that 14 times in a row.  "No" doesn't mean much of anything without context.  So, we never just said "no" to them; we always said it in context with what he was doing.  No pictures! 

It was really teaching more than discipline.  That is what made it fun.  It was kind of an experiment.  (Like, we have experimented with at what age they would become ticklish as babies.)  When they started understanding "no", were just amazed.

A side benefit is that at this age, children have have very short attention spans.  So we didn't have to deal with the dedication and perseverance of a 2 or 3 year old wanting to jump off a table... and always getting there after impact.  When working with a little one, you have the benefit of their almost total immobility.  So all of our "no's" are successful; we can control their environment!  There is so much less stress just patiently repeating things to a 6 month old versus chasing down a 22 month-er who is RUNNING to the bathroom with the can opener.

Our youngest is a year now, and he understands "no" across many contexts.  If he crawls towards something and we say "no", he understands!  We haven't attained perfect obedience, BUT we do get some, plus we are seeing a child who is more content with not getting what they want all the time!  (Contentment is a lesson for LIFE!  We need it as much as he does!)  He understands "no" is a dead end, and, with his short attention span, he will then interest himself in something within his palette of choice, such as his toes or the corner of a table.

Well, that was kind of an aside, but the point is:  while "no" is very abstract, in context, it is completely understandable even to a very young child.  That transfers to the teaching of many concepts in the Bible.

An excellent article is "Teaching Our Children to Understand the Bible".  It gives concrete examples of defining such abstract concepts through studying the Bible as a whole.

Another booklet we have found helpful is "How to Teach Your Children a Verse a Day" on our website.  It gives many ideas for illustrating verses when you are not just talking about an ark or great fish.