Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Keal Family Newsletter, July 2008

Hello Friends and Family!

Happy July to you.

As I mentioned in the last newsletter, Jaden had just started
crawling. Well, in the space of only a couple of weeks, Jaden went
from just "scooting" to crawling, then crawling all the way up the
stairs, then pulling himself up onto his feet, then attempting to
stand without holding on. It was quite the explosion of motor skill
activity from this little man.

It's amazing to watch him pull himself up to a standing position, let
go, wobble, and then plop to the floor... and then do it all over
again... over and over again. I can't help but think to myself,
"What's driving you dude? What's in it for you? Why do you so
desperately want to stand up?" Well, that's just where he is in
life... that's how the Lord made him. It's wonderful to think about
how the Lord inspires a love for something, at just the right
developmental time. He is capable of standing up, so he wants to
give it a try. It's exciting!

I can apply that to me as well. It's amazing to watch myself pull
myself up out of a selfish position, let go and let God, wobble, and
then plop to the selfish floor... and then do it all over again...
over and over again. I can't help but ask myself, "What's driving
me? What's in it for me? Why do I so desperately want to 'stand up'
spiritually?" Once again, the Lord inspires a love for something at
just the right developmental time. I am capable of learning to be un-
selfish, so I want to give it a try. It's almost like the Lord hard-
wired us to be curious enough about heaven to give it a shot. It's

Jaden will be 11 months old on the 11th. We are coming up on 1
year! He's been trying and eating more and more solid food. The
latest is chicken. And just yesterday he starting "parroting."
Thea and Cirdan were showing me something that had fallen down, and
so I said, "Uh-Oh." And then from across the room I hear a tiny
echo: "uh-oh." He tends to say it more when he's not aware of an
audience, but sometimes you can intentionally say "Uh-Oh" to him, and
he will respond in kind. It's very very cute.

We lost Cirdan's Superman toy after Abby and Malcolm's wedding. We
thought that maybe we left it in Bryn Athyn. After a long and
fruitless search, we gave up and bought him another one (it wasn't
too expensive.) A few days later, Cirdan was playing with his
flashlight and shining it under his bed. He called out to me, "Papa,
I see a red boot!" Well, I could see that Superman was sitting on
the chair next to his bed, but my heart sank, because I knew exactly
what Cirdan must be looking at. Sure enough Superman Returned! The
Man of Steel decided to Steal away and hide behind Cirdan's bed, and
even with my Parenting X-Ray vision, I could not find him.
So now we have two Supermans, (Supermen?), saving the world together.

Thea has started painting recently. It can be frustrating for her at
times, because paint behaves very differently than markers or
pencils, but she's learning to catch the drips and shake the water
out, etc. We have an old art easel that used to belong to the
Echols family, and was something that Tirah grew up with. We fixed
it up, and put a white board on one side, and a chalk board and
painting pad on the other side. That is what inspired the urge to
paint in Thea.

We had a lot of fun on our vacation, or rather our "stay-cation" as
it is called these days. Tirah got a week off in June, and we had
fun doing various outings, but staying at home. Tirah and I fixed
up our bikes, and then we all went to a local bicycle track near our
house. It's a beautiful track in a park-like setting, complete with
a kiddy track and a huge sand-box. We spent the morning one day
there, and then in the afternoon we went to a place called Bear Rock
Junction. It has mini golf, and a miniature steam train, and really
good ice cream. On another day we spent the afternoon at the pool
at Blue Rocks Campground. Then on the Monday of Tirah's vacatiton,
we went on a day-trip to Knoebel's Amusement Park about an hour or so
north of here. Thea went on several rides that we didn't expect her
to be brave enough to want to try.

On Tuesday the 24th of June, still during Tirah's vacation, we
celebrated our 7th anniversary! We went out to dinner at a very
fancy, very expensive local restaurant. Then we went out to see the
latest Indiana Jones movie. And we finished it off with a chocolate
cake from Wegmans.

We wanted to see Wall-E, the latest Pixar movie, but it wasn't out
until that Friday. We were telling a friend of ours, Matt
Synnestvedt, about how we love Pixar movies, and he came up with a
great term for us: You know how people who love Star Trek are called
"Trekies"? Well, people who love Pixar movies should be called
"Pixies." Yes. Tirah and I are "Pixies," and proud of it!

At the Creekside Center in our backyard, we've started having a
Vespers service every Friday night. This has been wonderful, because
since Tirah works every Sunday, we usually don't get to go to church
very often. This will help to fill the void of regular Sabbath time
in our lives.

At the end of the month, we made the trek down to B.A. for another
wedding: My childhood friend Justin Hendricks got married to Anndwyn
Schrock. Both Tirah and I sang for several pieces of special music
in the wedding.

We had a rainy 4th of July here in Kempton. I was supposed to play
my keyboard for part of the program, and I ended up having to set up
on the porch of the King's house, which meant that people couldn't
here the music very well. Oh well. Later on, during the picnic,
the Kings strung a huge tarp between the trees over top of the picnic
area, which allowed us to continue our picnic during the rain. It
was kind of fun. Later we visited back at our house with Tirah's
sisters Jori, Abby, and Tykah, and Abby's husband Malcolm, and Thane
Glenn and Carl Smith. We had a nice barbecue and then watched Carl
and Malcolm set off some back-yard fireworks. It was a good day.

This weekend we will be traveling down to Washington D.C. to
participate in a March and Rally for Freedom. We're hoping that the
kids won't get too overwhelmed, and that it will be a fun outing.
We've never taken the kids to D.C. before, so there certainly will be
lots to see. We're hoping that we can stay long enough to get to see
Chuck Baldwin and Ron Paul speak. Check out the March at http://


And now for the sad news. The day before Abby and Malcolm's
wedding, we learned that Tirah's mom very likely has cancer. There
hasn't been an official diagnoses, but her symptoms point towards
cancer. Without an official diagnoses we don't know how long she
has, or what sort of cures are possible. Later this month we will
be traveling out to Ohio to visit and to help out around the house.
If you would like to hear the latest updates on her condition, and/or
send your love and support, go to http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/


That's all for now.

Love from,

Solomon, Tirah, Thea, Cirdan, and Jaden Keal