Celebrating Freedom Days in Lots of Ways

Freedom is a good thing. We Douglases really value freedom. We are very independent and are glad to live in a country that allows more freedoms than so many other countries do.

We celebrate Freedom on more occasions than just the 4th of July. We have a day we call Freedom Day, which happens to fall on or near Halloween. We have chosen to celebrate Freedom on that day instead of the traditional things that are celebrated on that day. We celebrate Freedom instead of Halloween.

The one thing our celebration has in common with the traditional celebration is — CANDY!!!

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On or near October 31st, I buy lots of candy, and I make up lists of questions for each child, based on what they’ve been learning in homeschool.

Then I ask each one a question, and when they get the right answer they get to choose 2 pieces of candy.

Sometimes it moves kind of slowly, but they entertain each other between their questions, so they all really like it. They know the pay-off for their patience is going to be very sweet, so it helps them to wait their turn.

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In this way, we can review what we have been learning and do some narration and earn candy all at the same time. Works for me! The kids look forward to this every year. When they hear others start talking about Halloween, they start asking me when Freedom Day is.

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We went to Blessington Farms that same day, and Garrett tied into our theme of Freedom by doing the Statue of Liberty pose in one of our pictures.

On Freedom Day we celebrate Freedom of Religion, Freedom to homeschool, Freedom of Speech, and Freedom in Christ.

Which leads me to the second part of this post…

Did you know this was going to be a two-part post?

I’m throwing in this second part for free. dom. ๐Ÿ™‚

Have you ever thought about what Freedom in Christ is?

What are we free from when we are in Christ?

Well, one thing we are free from is sin. When we make Jesus Lord of our lives, we are no longer slaves to sin.

We may still sin, but it is really our choice. We have power over sin if we ask the Lord to help us not to sin anymore, and we access the power of the Holy Spirit to help us.

Another thing we are free from is satan’s dominion over us. He cannot make us do anything.

But –

If we don’t enforce our freedom, the devil knows ways to keep us in bondage.

He uses things like generational curses, generational sins, things that our ancestors participated in and pronounced on their descendants to cause problems in our lives just because they have never been specifically broken over us. These things are some of the demonic strongholds spoken of in II Corinthians 10:4 –

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,”

When Gary and I went away for our anniversary last weekend, I knew that I was supposed to help him get freedom from some things that the enemy was still using to keep him in bondage. There were some things he was doing, things he was thinking, mindsets, and attitudes that I knew were not really the way Gary was supposed to be.

These things were damaging his relationships with members of our family.

I knew that he couldn’t see them himself.

So I prayed about our anniversary trip the whole week before we went. I found a Bed and Breakfast not far from home. It was in a peaceful, country setting. The room I chose had a living room portion, too, with a nice couch, chair, recliner and coffee table. So we were able to sit and relax and talk about what was going on.

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I brought some things to his attention. When I mentioned specific things he said or did, he told me he didn’t remember them. As we kept talking and praying about these things, I realized that there was demonic interference that was causing him to do and say things. He said that a shroud came down over his head sometimes and he would puzzle about something, he was kept preoccupied with trying to figure something out and it would last a while, and then when he came back to attention everybody would be acting strange, like something bad had just happened, and he didn’t know what it was.

Here’s how he described it:

“Like a shroud – a panicked feeling to resolve what was before me or else – not just one thing but several, and it created an unreal amount of pressure, feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and just impending doom and condemnation. I got used to it – just figured it was just me trying to solve the world’s problems.”

I would later tell him he did this or that, but he didn’t remember those things. When he described it that way, I realized that I had been talking to and dealing with a demon at times, thinking it was Gary, and I was getting really mad at Gary when I should have been mad at the devil.

After we realized who the enemy was and what he had been doing, we prayed about how he got in and what right he had to stay in Gary’s life and control him like that. We knew that it had to do with a familiar spirit passed down through his family line. We believe it was from a great uncle that was a shaman of the Cherokee.

Gary wrote down the list of behaviors, mindsets and attitudes and repented of them, came out of agreement with them, and commanded spirits associated with them to leave. Then he told the familiar spirit to leave, all of this in Jesus’ name.

After a while, he started laughing. He felt a change. He felt lighter. He felt free.

He started treating me different after that. I haven’t felt so loved and cherished in a long time!

Yes, indeed, Freedom is a good thing.

Farm Days

Kelsey wanted to go to a Pumpkin Patch. What Kelsey wants, Kelsey gets. Nah, not really. I really wanted to take the kids somewhere fun, too, so I did a search and found a couple of farms in the area that had pumpkin patches. One of them looked like it had lots of fun stuff without being too terribly expensive or too crowded, especially during the weekend after Halloween. So we went to Blessington Farms to check out the pumpkins and the rest of the attractions.

We were pleasantly surprised at the amount of fun things there were to do there.

We had to pay $10/person to get in, but we didn’t have to pay for any of the rides or anything once we were in.

The big slide was a lot of fun.

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Garrett came down laying down.

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Abby came down slightly sideways.

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Garrett on his back again. I think it slowed him down a little bit and made him feel a little safer.

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Safer, that is, until Kelsey came down and almost ran into him!

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Here Garrett tried it sitting up.

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He tried it on his belly and almost crashed into the side. Abby was standing right there, but she was too busy looking up at the top to be of any help to him.

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Sitting again.

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Kelsey on her belly.

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Kelsey at the bottom after a fun slide down on her belly. Abby went down lots of times, too, but I couldn’t really see what I was taking pictures of. I just had to point and shoot because the sun made it impossible to see what was on my camera screen. So the pictures I tried to take of Abby didn’t turn out too well.

Emma was with Gary on the other side of the hill, going down the slide there, so I didn’t get any pictures of her.

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The little girls really liked the big sandpile, but we had lots of other things to explore, so they didn’t get much time to play in the sand.

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We went through the petting farm.

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The camels were 6 months old. I thought it was very nice of them to smile for the camera!

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There were goats that were tiny.

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They were so cute!

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Nobody was afraid to pet them. One guy picked one of them up and carried it over to his son so he could pet it.

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There were chicks.

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My kids can’t wait until we can have our own baby chicks.

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Garrett and Abby and Scooby rode on the pedal bikes.

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Kelsey got in on the pedal bike action.

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We finally found the pumpkin patch! But it had already been pretty well picked.

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We were able to get some nice pictures with the few pumpkins that were left.

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Garrett tried his hand at lassoing a steer.

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Then we rode the barrel train.

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The little girls rode in cows. And so did I. I rode in a cow behind them. It was so much fun! Riding on that barrel train was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. I threw my hands up in the air and yelled, “Wooh” just like on a roller coaster.

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Kelsey and the twins brought up the rear.

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The twins were the caboose.

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The little girls were having a lot of fun. Almost as much fun as their mama.

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And the sun goes down on the barrel train.

The next weekend, Gary and I wanted to celebrate our 26th anniversary. So I looked for a Bed and Breakfast in the area. To my great surprise, I found a FARM that was also a Bed and Breakfast that was only about 12 minutes from our house. It’s called Honey Farm.

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And on that farm there was a cat. E – I – E – I – O!

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There were also 2 llamas, a pony and a donkey named Rufus. They told me that the pony is the boss.

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This is the back porch of the main house. There is a screened-in porch where you can sit away from the mosquitoes if everybody remembers to keep the screen door closed.

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Side view of the main house.

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Front view of the main house. Great front porch!

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This is the door to our cozy love nest. ๐Ÿ™‚

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We had a bathroom inside. We did not have to use the outhouse in the picture.

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And this is where I spent the majority of my time. I slept most of the time! I think I was fighting something off.

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But it was very beautiful and comfortable and quiet and peaceful.

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And the breakfasts were terrific. We had wonderful hosts who met our every need.

Gary and I had a wonderful time. It was the perfect place for our getaway. God really blessed us during our time together, and we both came away refreshed and rejuvenated. A lot happened for us spiritually, but I will write about that in another post in the future.

How We Handle Halloween

We don’t celebrate Halloween. If you don’t know why, you can google it and see the origins and why lots of Christians choose to forego celebrating this holiday.

I don’t want to talk about why we don’t celebrate it. I want to talk about what we do instead.

We have done basically the same thing for years, but we now have a theme that we center these activities around – something we can sink our teeth into celebrating. We celebrate FREEDOM!

We know people who celebrate The Reformation on this day because it was Oct. 31st when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door at Wittenburg. We considered that, but after we learned more about the Reformers, we decided there was something even more important that we wanted to celebrate than what the Reformers did.

We decided to celebrate the freedom we have in this nation – the freedom of speech and religion especially.

Because of these freedoms, we are able to homeschool.

These freedoms are being threatened and taken from us during these days, so it is even more important that we take this time to thank God for what we still have and to pray for preservation and restoration of the freedom and liberty that God provided for us with the founding of this nation.

Well, that is what we have chosen to celebrate at the end of October.

And here is how we go about celebrating it:

1. I write out questions for each set of kids that correspond with things they have learned and things I expect them to know.

2. I buy a bunch of candy.

3. I ask each kid a question. I try to get somebody to help me with this part. One year my parents were visiting us at that time of year, so I had them take a page of questions and hand out candy when the child answered a question correctly. Gary takes some of them sometimes, and sometimes the older kids help with this.

4. I usually have questions for the older kids, too. (After all, they want candy too!)

5. One year I had them wear Mario shirts because almost all of the kids had them already. They could wear a costurme if they wanted to.

6. Basically anything that will combine learning, review, fun and candy, so that we can celebrate our freedom to homeschool, our freedom to worship God, our freedom to believe what we think is true, and our freedom to say what we believe.

As I write this, I’m reminded of how great the threat is to these freedoms under the current administration and in the present climate in this country. This year on Oct. 31, I think that we will spend some time in prayer that these freedoms will remain in our nation and that revival will come and the foundations will be restored.

We can take this opportunity to celebrate what God has done in giving us a free country to live in, and we can also pray that God will protect us from those who are trying to take that freedom away from us.

The enemies of liberty are all around us. But God is greater.

Now that is something to celebrate!

If you want to see the progression of how we came to celebrate Freedom Day you can check out these posts from the last couple of years:

http://www.penneydouglas.com/2010/11/01/happy-freedom-of-religion-day/

http://www.penneydouglas.com/2011/10/31/snow-and-a-mario-party-homeschool-review/

Snow!!! And a Mario Party Homeschool Review

Saturday, October 30th, we had a snowfall of about 6 inches. What a surprise when we looked out the window that morning.

Here is our holly bush covered with snow.

This is William. Anna built him and lost him in one day.

You can tell these are Douglas snowmen by their blue eyes. ๐Ÿ˜›

We did our annual candy event that we’ve called by various names. Last year we called it Freedom of Religion Day. This year we called it Candy and Homeschool Review Day with a Mario Party theme. And we all dressed up in our Mario T-shirts (the ones who had them)! So it’s a hodgepodge, thrown-together kind of occasion. But it was fun! And we reviewed lots of stuff we’ve been learning since last Oct. 30 or thereabouts.

Every year around Oct. 31st, we do a review of what we’ve learned in our homeschool, and the kids get the opportunity to earn their big bag of candy instead of begging for it.

This year, I let the little kids go first. Anna worked with Abby, and Morgan worked with Emma, asking them to identify shapes, colors, numbers, etc.

I asked the twins questions like a few addition and subtraction problems, counting by 2’s, 5’s and 10’s, all about the life cycle of butterflies, atmosphere, leaves changing colors, dolphins, ocean, nutrition, favorite Bible story and person, overview of Jesus’ life, other Bible people like Noah and Moses, and for Geography they had to locate where we live on the map of the USA and the world map.

They were allowed to take a piece of candy every time they answered a question correctly or talked about what they knew about a topic.

For the older kids I asked them multiplication facts, states and capitals, questions about the Bible like “what have you been reading lately”, “Who’s your favorite person in the Bible”, “What’s your favorite Bible story”, favorite Bible verse.

Then we covered Science by having each one narrate what they’ve been learning in Science.

Then we covered a lot of History.

Medieval History – Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard the Lion Heart, Archbishop of Canterbury – Thomas Becket.

Jamestown – Captain John Smith, Pocahontas, John Rolfe, Powhatan

Thanksgiving – Chief Massasoit, Pilgrim leaders, Governor Bradford, Brewster (spiritual leader).

American Revolutionary War – major events of the war, George Washington, the founding fathers and mothers (Abigail Adams), important dates.

Civil War – major generals, battles, Gettysburg (of course), weapons, the Revival – the Third Great Awakening that happened right around that time and Finney’s revivals.

Then Shawn gave us a summary of Dante’s life.

Everybody got candy when they answered questions. They didn’t get as much as kids get when they go begging, but how much candy do kids really need? Ha! Besides, we have leftover candy they can get when their bags are empty!

We then went to the computer and watched “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and ate popcorn, then some of us listened to the first half of the Adventures in Odyssey series “The Green Ring Conspiracy”.

And now for the ultimate irony:

This is what we did the day before the big snowfall!

An agility course wearing light jackets and sweat shirts!

Happy Freedom of Religion Day! aka Halloween!

Freedom Day!

That’s what we celebrated today. It’s our party, we can call it what we want to! During trick or treat time in our neighborhood, we gathered in our living room and reviewed the things we’ve learned during the school year.

Sounds exciting, huh? Oh, did I forget to mention that the kids got a piece of candy for each correct answer?

They each had a bag with their name written on it. I had questions for the twins and questions for the older kids. Emma and Abby each identified a letter of the alphabet, sort of. Then they just kept grabbing candy out of the bowl.

I had about 20 questions for the twins, including flash cards of addition facts and some science questions and general information.

I had a list of 20 History questions, 20 Bible questions, and 20 Creation Science questions for the older kids. I had several questions that encouraged narration, such as, “Tell me what you know about George Washington… about John Adams… about Thomas Jefferson”, and Morgan volunteered to tell us all about Davy Crockett. He knows a lot about him since he wrote this story about him. Then he changed his mind and said he would tell us about Simon Kenton, which he proceeded to do in great detail. I enjoyed immensely hearing all that my kids had learned about History, Creation Science and the Bible and seeing how thoroughly they had learned it. I think they enjoyed it, too, and would have even without the candy. It just kind of sweetened the deal. ๐Ÿ™‚

We answered about half of the questions, then we watched “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and another episode about Linus running for class president and ate popcorn with some of our candy. The election episode just happened to come on right after the Great Pumpkin episode. I didn’t plan it, but as usual, the Spirit knew ahead of time how to tie things together with current events for me. Then we finished up the questions and distributed the rest of the candy.

I read our Bible reading for the day. It was some of the parables of Jesus, so it was really good.

Then we watched a movie called “The Lost and Found Family”. I didn’t know how good it would be or how family-friendly, but it was very good and very family-friendly. It had a wonderful message about helping foster children by really giving them love and support. I consider it a very good movie, because it made me cry about 10 times.

What did any of this have to do with Freedom of Religion? Well, we are allowed to homeschool because of the freedoms given to us by the Constitution, including freedom of religion, and homeschooling was a central part of our celebration. We read our Bible. That is definitely a privilege afforded us by freedom of religion. And the movie we watched had definite Christian overtones.

We really just called it that because we wanted a good name for our celebration, but I think it ended up being a pretty good match for our activities. We went a step beyond Reformation Day and celebrated Freedom of Religion Day!