Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.


Iron Sharpening

The Christian Heritage Family Discipleship and Homeschooling Conference is one of the highlights of my family's year. It involves lots of work and little sleep since we help out as volunteers, but it also includes incredible opportunities to fellowship with likeminded Christians and homeschoolers from not only Washington, but also Canada, Idaho, and Oregon. (I have included lots of links in this post, so take advantage of them and click through to find out more about what I'm talking about!)

 We traveled on Thursday morning to help with set up and get familiar with our jobs.

The Botkin family and Mr. Kevin Swanson were the keynote speakers this year, and Lauren and I worked at the Botkin booth in the vendor hall selling all of their marvelous material! It was wonderful to talk with Anna Sophia and Elizabeth and to meet the rest of the family that was there. If you have not heard of them before, check out their website!

 It was special to get to meet a few more blog readers, too! Thanks so much, Ruth and Eden, for coming up to us. It was so much fun to visit with you, and we look forward to future get-togethers! (And Raquel, Keilah, Tara and Kelly--whom we already knew in real life, but mostly keep up with in the blogosphere--it was great seeing you as well!) Of course there were so many other old and new friends that we got to catch up with. Too many to name here, yet they all brightened our day and encouraged us in so many ways.

 Family Night on Friday evening is always an incredible experience with a selection of unique musical performances and recitations from homeschoolers and graduates. From Czardas on the marimba to seven sisters praising God in acapella harmony to interviews with two families who produced two quality films and won prizes in the 2010 San Antonio Film Festival, I was inspired, uplifted, and entertained.

 Mama worked in registration all weekend with these lovely ladies!

The theme of the weekend was "Be Ye Transformed," based on Romans 12:1-2:

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
Mr. Swanson and Mr. Botkin as well as the myriad of Godly workshop speakers challenged every part of our lives, from literature to grammar to character to vision to family to government to music. Just as things would begin to look bleak and I wondered if there even was a chance for America, with Christians fast becoming a minority and socialism fast becoming a normality and compromise fast becoming the standard, the Holy Spirit would convict me through these speakers by their courage, their steadfastness, and their character.

Four short chorale sessions gave the young people just enough time to polish four varied and beautiful pieces. It is always such a delight to work with our excellent director and learn from him and the other participants.

 In the final session, we performed a hymn arrangement, a spiritual, a classical piece, and a choral accompaniment to a piano solo. Praising the Lord almost one hundred strong, with each and every young person a homeschooler or homeschool graduate was incredible. Please join with me in praying for each one of these young ladies and men and those around our nation. We must stand strong and without compromise, building on our parents' foundation in humility and honor. If the incredible movement our parents have begun through God's grace is dropped on our watch, then I fear we will have lost our last chance for reform and revival in the church today.
 We got to meet and work with this dear family (minus one who was probably off helping somewhere).

 I always come away from the conference with newfound friends--sisters and brothers in Christ!

 Saturday--the final day of the conference--was Susanna's birthday, and she spent most of the day running around with Melanie and taking care of all the speakers and staff. In the evening, though, we went out for dinner and had a special time together unwinding after a long weekend.

Ah...the conference. I already have next year's event written in my calendar--you must not miss Dr. Voddie Baucham Jr. as keynote speaker next year from April 26-28, 2012. Lord willing, I'll be there too!

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. *gasp* Voddie Baucham's coming back next year? We have-have-HAVE to go!! :)

  2. Wow, sounds like a great time! Thanks for a glimpse. :)

  3. Um, yeah! Get out that jar and start saving those pennies! Every Christian in Washington (and Oregon, and Idaho, and BC) should be there! ;-)

    You're welcome, Ruthie--and welcome home!

  4. There's a group of homeschooled guys in my church, and their football team (that has won nationals multiple times) has the "as iron sharpens iron" verse on the back of their shirts. I always thought that was so cool for a sports team to have as a motto of sorts.

  5. What a neat mental picture you just gave me, Elyse. There are so many parallels between Christians working together for the kindom of God and young men working together to win a game.

  6. Hello!

    I know who you are... and Eden is my sister! ;) I sang with the Altos recognized one of you, since I've seen your blog before, but couldn't place the face!

    I enjoyed the weekend... and thanks for all the great pictures!

    ~Bethany Strang

  7. Ah, Bethany--so we pass each other in the halls and don't get to meet? How sad! Melanie and I sing alto and Lauren and Susanna sing soprano, so you must have seen me slipping in late each session since I had my volunteer duties to attend to. ;-)

    At least Lauren got to meet Eden--we were both thrilled that she came up and introduced herself! And I'll hold out for next year in hopes we can meet the rest of the family then.

  8. Mikaela~~

    Ooh, wow!! We went to that for the FIRST time this year..I can't believe you all went, too!! And, I am only two away from you in the choir picture. ;) I SO enjoyed the can read my post about it here!:

    ..:) I hope to maybe see you girls next year??


    P.S. (I think we know MANY of the same families..the Jordans...Browns...Howards..)

  9. Lucia,
    We've had the conference blog button up on our sidebar for two or three months now (see above)...too bad we weren't able to connect! :/

    However! When you made the comment about being near me in chorale, I investigated your blog, and discovered that you were actually three away from Lauren (I was singing in the alto section). And--get this--Lauren recognized you, because she remembers turning around in chorale practice and complimenting you on your lovely voice. So that random girl who talked to you at chorale practice? Yep...that was Lauren. ;-)

    Being so close, living in the same state, and having so many mutual friends means we simply must meet one of these days. Lord willing, it will be sooner rather than later.

  10. I saw you guys in passing at the conference, but never could gather the courage to introduce myself. I'm from BC, Canada, and I've been attending the Christian Heritage Homeschooling conference in Washington for four years now. I was so excited to hear that Voddie Baucham will be speaking next year - he's one of my favourite speakers!

  11. Alanna, my family has been attending the conference all six years (I've only been four times, however)! How sad that we missed each other--please, please introduce yourself next year if you are able to attend. Lauren and I treasure the opportunities we have to meet our readers and put faces to names and voices to faces. God bless!

  12. It is amazing what a tight-knit group the homeschooling community is...I think the degrees of separation must be two or three (when, in the normal case, they can be up to six). Looking forward to meeting you and the rest of your family next year!

  13. Hello Ladies, I was at the conference too! :) And my sister is the Eden you mentioned in the post! I'll have to try meeting you both--perhaps at the next conference. :) And I'll have to look at the chorale picture again because I was standing next to Lucia. Small world. :) Blessings, Shiloh

  14. I am continually amazed at how "small" the homeschooling community is. Thanks for commenting, Shiloh!


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