Virtual Field Trip–William Miller’s Home

Hello Boys and Girls!

Do you like to go on field trips? I do! In fact, they are my favorite part of school–both when I was a girl and now when I am all grown up! Our family likes to go on as many field trips as possible, as I suspect yours does too. Sometimes I wish that our friends could come with us as we visit different places, so we decided to bring you with us through this blog post! 🙂

The first field trip I want to take you on this school year is a trip to William Miller’s home. Do you know who William Miller is? He is not alive now, but years ago he played a very important part in the start of our Seventh-day Adventist church. Now this field trip is one that I was not able to go on myself–my son went with his college class on a big tour bus, and when he got home he took me there the same way we are going to take you–through pictures and stories telling me and showing me what he saw! So the rest of this blog post will be from my son Austin. I hope you enjoy the trip! There are lots more places I want to take you to–later this school year we will go to more important places in Adventist History. It is really neat to study your church’s history, because that way you get to see how Jesus is leading our church. So learn all you can, and I hope you enjoy Austin’s pictures and stories as much as I did!

~Mrs. Menzmer

It was a beautiful sunny New England autumn day as the tour bus I was on crossed from Vermont into New York, and a few minutes later rolled into the driveway of the William Miller home. While I had previously seen the Miller home in pictures, it was such an incredible experience to be just driving along the New York countryside, round a corner, and THERE IT IS. So cool to see it in real life!

After a wonderful lunch, Dr. Lake (our tour guide) led us to the front door and started his talk. William Miller was a Deist, meaning that he believed that God created the world but then left it to its’ own devices. However, after serving in several minor political positions, and having a near-death encounter in the War of 1812, Miller began to have his doubts.

William Miller began to study the Bible in order to refute his Christian friends, but in the process God got ahold of him and by 1816 Miller was a Christian himself. For the next two years, Miller completed an exhaustive study of the Bible, starting at Genesis 1:1 and finishing with Revelation 22:21. He was particularly interested with the prophecies of Daniel, and their connection with the second coming of Christ. It was an amazing experience for me to stand in Miller’s study, to see where he studied the Bible, and to realize that this is where “God sent His angel to move upon the heart of a famer who had not believed the Bible, to lead him to search the prophecies. Angels of God repeatedly visited that chosen one, to guide his mind and open to his understanding prophecies which had ever been dark to God’s people.” (Early Writings p. 229)

At the end of his two year study, Miller wrote: “I was thus brought… to the solemn conclusion, that in about twenty-five years from that time 1818 all the affairs of our present state would be wound up.”1

But even with arriving at such an exciting conclusion, William Miller was scared to go preach this message. For the next 13 years he kept silent, only telling a few family members and friends about his discoveries. They encouraged him to go public, but he refused. His friends and family were not the only ones who were encouraging Miller to preach; all this while God was telling William Miller to “Go, tell it to the world!” But Miller continued to fight off this impression.

Finally, one very early August morning in 1831, Miller gave up and made a bargain with God. If God would send him an invitation to preach somewhere, Miller would accept and “Go, tell it to the world” For the first time in years, Miller felt at peace. He was a farmer, and getting old. No one had ever invited him to preach, and surely no one ever would!

Think again.

Right at that moment, a knock sounded at Miller’s front door. He got up from his study, opened the door, and welcomed in his 14-year-old2 nephew Irving who had obviously not even eaten breakfast! Irving quickly relayed his father’s message to his uncle: “Come and teach our people that the Lord is coming.”

Just as quickly, speaking not a word William Miller strode out of the house, fuming at God. This was an invitation to preach at his nephew’s local church! That meant that he would have to preach more, like he had agreed in his bargain with God! And all the while that same Voice spoke in his mind’s ear, “Go, tell it to the world!”

William Miller ended up in his farm’s maple grove.

“Lord, I can’t go!”3 Miller pleaded, “I can’t! I’m only a farmer, not a preacher; how can I carry a message like Noah?”

But the only response he got was,

“Will you break a promise so soon after you have made it? Go and tell it to the world!”

Finally, Miller surrendered.

“Lord, I don’t know how I can do it; but if you will go with me, I will go.”

Immediately, that huge, heavy burden that he had been carrying for years rolled off his shoulders. He had said “yes” to God, and this middle-aged man danced for joy. William Miller’s youngest daughter, Lucy, had followed him out to the maple grove. Seeing her father’s sudden change of disposition, she ran back to the house exclaiming,

“Mother, Mother, come quick! Father’s down in the grove, and he’s gone crazy!”

William Miller didn’t walk, nor run out of that grove; he danced. His family was thrilled. Miller joyously assured young Irving that just as soon as they finished eating breakfast, he would gladly go with his him to preach the next day. Miller did, and his life was never the same.

Dr. Lake told us this story on the front steps of the Miller home. It was so cool to hear this story right where it happened…to have Dr. Lake to pretend to be Irving and knock on the very door that Irving knocked on…and later, to walk out to the very maple grove where William Miller surrendered to God.

I have grown up on these stories, love these stories, but it was a totally different experience to actually see the locations where these stories of major Adventist historical significance took place. I pray that you have been blessed by reading this article, and gained at least a taste of the joy of visiting the William Miller home in person. If you are interested in seeing the video footage that I shot of the William Miller farm, you can check it out here:




Teaching Character


Help me to share my experiences with these fellow SDA families and glorify You in the process.


I’m Robin, my husband and I (and this year our boys) are new Adventists (since May 2011) and we have three children. Our oldest, Eli, is 11 years old and attended private preschool and public school kindergarten but has been homeschooled after our experiences in the school system. Tyson, 10 years old, went to private preschool and then became a homeschooler. Sallie, 20 months old, will be homeschooled from the beginning. We are now in our 6th year of homeschooling and I can truly say “I LOVE IT!” and can’t imagine it any other way.

Barnes kids

Teaching Godly character is such an important part of what we do as Christian parents. As homeschoolers we are blessed with the ability to have our children home and be able to instill in them values and character traits that glorify God. We have had several books/curriculum that I think are worth sharing that deal with manners and character development.

The first one we used was Manners Made Easy by June Hines Moore and it was a very fun workbook that covered: who needs manners, how to introduce yourself, how to introduce others, telephone manners, writing thank-you notes, and table manners. Every lesson had a bible study and activities to do that reinforced the manners that were learned in the lesson. We took one manner each week doing the lesson on Monday and then practiced throughout the week. It made for a biblically based, quick, fun way to learn manners that was not intimidating for the kids.

Once we finished our manners study we used Lessons in Responsibility for Boys by Pearables. I thought this was a great curriculum! It covered many topics ranging from appropriate things to watch on tv, being careful of what you read, standing up for your brother, taking care of your sister and showing her how she needs to be treated, etc. Every lesson had a bible verse and color page and included an activity or assignment to do throughout the week to reinforce the lesson.

Currently we are reading through Boyhood and Beyond by Bob Schultz and I don’t have the words to describe this wonderful book. I will do my best to convey just how special this book is. If you go by the title of this book then you would be led to think it is only for boys. On the cover it has “Practical Wisdom for Becoming a Man”…let me be the first to tell you this is not a book for only boys! It is for dads, moms, sisters, and anyone else willing to delve into the pages and come out willing to do more with what God has given you. Let me give you the most recent life-changing lesson we received.

We were doing great with our morning quiet time at the beginning of May. The boys and I would get up and go to the kitchen table and start our day with a glass of water, prayer, and individual quiet time with God. Even Sallie was there, quietly coloring on my lap. Then…we took the infamous school break…oh boy. I struggle with quiet time/study time every time we take a school break because we all get out of the routine. On a one week break I do better but on a longer break, in this case three weeks, I’m horrible. It took chapter 19 of Boyhood and Beyond to whip us all back in shape and it started this morning (Aug. 12). Now if your adding up that is from the beginning of May until August 12 that we had no quiet time/study time outside of our school Bible lesson (TEMKIT, which is wonderful too!). That span of time is saddening to me…wasted time with my God that can never be retrieved…Chapter 19, Meeting God in the Morning changed that.

Allow me to chase a rabbit for a bit…I am an early riser IF I go to bed at a decent time. That is a big IF! I can find so much to do when all the kids are in bed! I usually tumble into bed at 12:30 or 1 and have several wake ups with various children. Sallie will end up in the bed with us or one of the boys will have a nightmare and want to be prayed with and my sleep deprived body rolls out of bed at 7:30 when I can take no more of the “Mom, can you get up?” questions. No quiet time happening with everyone up.

Here goes another rabbit…we are in the adoption process again (Sallie is adopted) and the only time the required classes are offered are on Sabbaths. We have always struggled to get to Sabbath school on time. We usually get there halfway through and there is usually rushing involved. Church is about an hour from our house and our adoption class is about an hour from our home. The thing that troubled me, and the Holy Spirit brought it to my mind on the way to our second class, was that we have not been late to an adoption class yet…AND I get up a full hour earlier to go to the class than I do to go to church. The Spirit asked me, “Now why is that?”. I did what anyone would do, I shrunk in my seat in the car, gulped and shared that question with my husband who was driving us to class. That was the first “clue” I needed to do better. It only took one more clue.

In Chapter 19, Mr. Schultz writes that as a Christian young man he was taught that you get up in the morning and do devotions. One morning as he lay struggling to get out of bed he heard God say to him “Quit trying – and get up.” He writes of how when there is something exciting going on, like an adoption class in our case, it is easy to get up early. He tells of how he told God to wake him at 4am if God wanted to spend time with him. Wouldn’t you know his internal alarm clock went off at 4am? THAT was my 2nd and last clue! As I prayed before bed last night (Aug 11) I said “God, if you want to spend time with me in the morning wake me at 5:30 and keep everyone else asleep.” At 5:16am I heard a toy start playing in the living room. The toy stays on all the time but only makes noise if someone touches it and everyone was asleep. The cats wouldn’t jump on it because it is very uneven and shaky for a cat. I got up, turned it off and returned to the bedroom to look at the clock. I thought about my spot in the bed but then God said “Remember what you told me?”. I washed my face, brushed my teeth, grabbed an EG White book from the dark bedroom and made my way to the dark living room. I asked God to help me find the books I wanted from the bookcase, in the dark since I didn’t want to wake anyone, and he did. By the time I got to the kitchen table to start it was 5:29!

I had the most amazing time with God! I don’t know why but I was thoroughly impressed with how he got me to the table! I started the Prayer 90X devotional by Ivor Myers and it is wonderful, I can’t wait until tomorrow morning.

As I was finishing my quiet time this morning Eli got up and he too grabbed his Bible and started reading and when he was halfway finished Tyson woke up and grabbed the iPod to listen to the Bible. I can’t tell you how happy I am that we are reading Boyhood and Beyond. Believe me this is not the only “life changer”. Buy the book yourself! We are over halfway done but will be ordering another one of Mr. Schultz’s books very soon.

I hope you will enjoy these books as much as we have. Until next time…I’ll “Quit trying – and get up” each morning, will you?

The Educational Value of Games

The tension was high as we sat around the table. I glanced at my husband and then at each of my two boys as we waited for my husband to make his decision. He placed the pieces accompanied by two sighs of relief and one groan from the rest of us. Strategy was quickly scrutinized and recalculated. It was a very close game, and we had no idea who was going to win.

Games take up a lot of space at our house. We love playing games and value them as educational tools. As I’m working on lesson plans for the new school year, I’m taking time to consider what games have done for our homeschool in the past and what potential they have for this coming year.

Reflecting back on the preschool years, I fondly remember the matching games to help learn colors and shapes, same and different, counting, letter and number recognition, and so on. However, I also remember an enormous amount of work on social skills. Good sportsmanship while playing games requires self-control, taking turns, following rules, managing emotions, impulse control, honesty and fairness.

How often I had to remind them why they needed to develop good sportsmanship. We established the house rule that the winner put the game away, which seemed to help the one who lost feel better. The winner was allowed to feel the satisfaction of winning, but without gloating or making fun of their opponents. The loser had to accept the loss graciously. When they had difficulty with losing, we played mostly games of chance instead of games requiring skill, so the loss was not based on their skill. We set up consequences for unacceptable behavior and reinforced how enjoyable it is to play with people who have fun no matter who is winning. As they got older I enjoyed seeing their sense of fairness, honesty, courtesy, empathy and compassion develop as they matured in their sportsmanship skills.

Academic skills also come from playing games. They developed math skills by counting and adding up points besides playing games specifically targeting math facts and computation. Both boys learned to make change from playing games which used a currency before it was covered in their math curriculum. Language arts skills came from word games, spelling games, reading the instructions and the rules. Geography and history based games are still favorites.

Some games require physical skills of throwing, catching, agility, balance, and so on. These skills help with hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness, adapting to conditions, timing, and large motor control.

Games also work on cognitive skills. Games require memory, processing speed, problem solving, sequential thinking, concentration, attention, visual-spatial processing, planning , strategy, analysis, and reasoning. These are all important skills for success in life.

Making time for games is important for our family. We have Bible-based games we play during the Sabbath. We often have a game night on Thursdays during the school year for a “family date night”. And probably the most fun is when I surprise them with a game day. Game days are a little more tricky now that they are older, because their academics take a lot more hours. A game day works great when the daily routine of schoolwork is getting tiresome. This usually hits early November for us as well as late January or early February. I secretly schedule in some flex time so I can give them a game day. We celebrate it with a special treat baked for breakfast. Sometimes we will do a partial game day so they get some of their schoolwork done.

I also like to give time to play a game as an incentive to complete work ahead of schedule or as a reward for getting through difficult assignments. Sometimes we have a long-playing game set up for several days and take a certain amount of turns as rewards for getting an assignment completed.

As the last turn was played that evening, we had no idea who had won. The points were carefully calculated. The analysis discussion began. We analyzed, the importance of decisions made, and how things might have turned out differently if certain things had happened. I heard positive comments and compliments. As the winner began putting the game away, everyone else pitched in to help. I reflected back on little preschooler-sized fists clenched in anger and shed tears over lost games, and I was pleased at observing the long-term results of using games as a teaching tool.

The educational value of games encourages me to find space for a few more games on the shelf as well as time in our school schedule.

Feeding the Habit

I’m addicted to quotes. Love to read them. Love to collect them. Love to share them. Thoughts often broil around in my head, not able to make it past my paralyzed tongue. Often, reading wonderful words by someone else makes me think, “Yes! That’s it exactly!”

Today, I’m sharing a variety of education quotes — held back to 25 with some difficulty — that appeal to me. Not all are directly about homeschooling, but I think they are applicable. We’re a relaxed homeschooling family with unschooler tendencies, so they may or may not strike the same chord with you, but I hope they’ll inspire thought and maybe a few smiles. They’re from a variety of folks, some with sources listed and some not, a few which may surprise you, and most likely several old favorites.


“There is no school equal to a decent home and no teacher equal to a virtuous parent.”
~Mahatma Gandhi

“In those days a boy on the classical side officially did almost nothing but classics. I think this was wise; the greatest service we can to education today is to teach few subjects. No one has time to do more than a very few things well before he is twenty, and when we force a boy to be a mediocrity in a dozen subjects we destroy his standards, perhaps for life.”
~C.S. Lewis

“The Jewish authorities were greatly surprised and said, ‘How does this man know so much when he has never been to school?’”
~John 7:15, Good News Bible

“I suppose it is because nearly all children go to school nowadays and have things arranged for them that they seem so forlornly unable to produce their own ideas.”  ~Agatha Christie

“We cannot continue to send our children to Caesar for their education and be surprised when they come home as Romans.”
~Voddie T. Baucham Jr., Family Driven Faith: Doing What It Takes to Raise Sons and Daughters Who Walk with God

“To learn how to do, we need something real to focus on — not a task assigned by someone else, but something we want to create, something we want to understand. Not an empty exercise but a meaningful, self-chosen undertaking.”
~Lori McWilliam Pickert

“Once upon a time, all children were homeschooled. They were not sent away from home each day to a place just for children but lived, learned, worked, and played in the real world, alongside adults and other children of all ages.”
~Rachel Gathercole, The Well-Adjusted Child: The Social Benefits of Homeschooling

“Self-education is the only possible education; the rest is mere veneer laid on the surface of a child’s nature.” 
~Charlotte Mason

“You will not reap the fruit of individuality in your children if you clone their education.” 
~Marilyn Howshall

“Homeschooling will certainly produce some socially awkward adults, but the odds are good they would have been just as quirky had they spent twelve years raising their hand for permission to go to the bathroom.”
~Quinn Cummings, The Year of Learning Dangerously: Adventures in Homeschooling

“I was delighted to see him growing more cautious and skeptical about what he heard, especially when he heard it from someone in apparent authority. I think that is fundamental to a good education. And if it comes back to bite me from time to time, that’s a price worth paying.” 
~Martine Millman, Homeschooling: A Family’s Journey

“Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.” 
~Julia Ward Howe

“You think me foolish to call instruction a torment, but if you had been as much used as myself to hear poor little children first learning their letters and then learning to spell, if you had ever seen how stupid they can be for a whole morning together, and how tired my poor mother is at the end of it, as I am in the habit of seeing almost every day of my life at home, you would allow that to torment and to instruct might sometimes be used as synonymous words.”
~Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

“Do not let the endless succession of small things crowd great ideals out of sight and out of mind.”
~Charlotte Mason

“Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues…. Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children. By knowing how to acknowledge their own failings to their children, parents will be better able to guide and correct them.”
~The Catechism of the Catholic Church #2223

“The ultimate quality of your life is not in your resume, but in the minds and hearts of those you mean something to because you gave yourself to them.”
~Dr. Laura Schlessinger

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
~Corrie Ten Boom

“When the atmosphere encourages learning, the learning is inevitable.”
~Elizabeth Foss, Real Learning: Education In The Heart Of The Home

“The test of every religious, political, or educational system is the man which it forms. If it injures the intelligence, it is bad; if it injures the character, it is vicious; if it injures the conscience, it is criminal.”

“We can think of ourselves not as teachers but as gardeners. A gardener does not ‘grow’ flowers; he tries to give them what he thinks they need and they grow by themselves.” 
~John Holt

“Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve.”
~Roger Lewin

“I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” 
~Albert Einstein

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” 

“The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives.”
~Robert Maynard Hutchins

True education means more than the pursual of a certain course of study. It means more than a preparation for the life that now is. It has to do with the whole being, and with the whole period of existence possible to man. It is the harmonious development of the physical, the mental,and the spiritual powers. It prepares the student for the joy of service in this world and for the higher joy of wider service in the world to come.
~Ellen G. White, Education, p. 13


It had been a long, hard, hot week for my friend, Lisa. One trouble after another had bubbled to the surface. Difficult problems to be solved, irritable people to be dealt with and an accumulated lack of sleep, had brought the week to an exhausting close. Soaking up the glory of a crimson sunset, Lisa inhaled slowly and visibly relaxed. It was now the Sabbath. Half murmured thoughts surfaced in her mind of a deep desire to enjoy the presence of God this holy Sabbath day. She was tired, more than tired and she craved worship.
Lisa woke and stretched slowly, easing her limbs gently from their sleeping position as the familiar ache of rheumatoid arthritis  brought her fully awake. It was late. She had overslept. A deep longing for quiet time with God filled her soul as she carefully made her way to the shower. Time was a premium and she brushed her soul-filled hunger aside with wisps of hair and plunged into preparing for church. Arriving late at the already filled car park, she hastily parked at the far end and made her way to the house of the Lord. Lisa silently slipped into a comfortable back pew but the thirst for God grew greater. How she longed for God deep within. Her week had been so hectic that she felt disconnected, as if she had run far ahead of the Lord. “Are you there for me, Father, “ she quietly prayed, “I so long for you, to be near to you.” Her disjointed thoughts tumbled between the troubles of the week, her aching heart for God and the service currently in progress.
The programme ended and Lisa slid slowly out of her seat and made her way thoughtfully across the car park. She was thirsty, very thirsty. The heat of the sun beat down on her relentlessly as she made her way back to the car. In her hurry that morning she had left her water bottle at home. Now she felt parched in body and spirit. Discouraged, Lisa started to drive away from the church. She chose the long route home, past houses framed with bright green lawns, flowering garden beds and shady trees. Startled, she saw a sign  by the road and pulled quickly to a stop. In bold black letters the sign read, “Free plums.” The large plum tree with rich green foliage was laden with ripe, deep purple plums, just ready to be picked. In joy Lisa picked one soft plum, then another and still another. Going to her car she retrieved an old, small plastic shopping bag and excitedly continued to pick plum after plum. The delight of the shade and the beauty of the gardens and lawn refreshed her spirits. With eagerness she took a bite of the sweet, juicy plum. Trickles of red juice squirted into her mouth and quenched her thirst. God came near and spoke into her heart words of comfort. “I have never left you nor forsaken you, Lisa. I am here for you.” She reached for another plum, satisfying her physical thirst even more. The peacefulness of the scene brought rest to her troubled mind. God’s presence was so near and His words so comforting, her thirsty soul for Him was filled. Her heart filled with thankfulness towards God for the gift of the plums and for the refreshment of body and spirit she received in those few brief minutes standing under a leafy tree relishing the sweetness of succulent plums. That moment and those plums were her gift from God. Tears welled up and threatened to spill over as her heart felt warmed by God’s thoughtfulness care and tender love for her.
 We have all experienced harried and frazzling weeks of problems, exhaustion and less time spent with God. Those moments of craving for God’s quietness and presence as expressed by the psalmist in Ps 42:1, 2 “As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” In the stillness of the moment God calls to my soul and I hear His voice  saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.” (John 7:38). I eagerly drink and again hear His words, “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” ( Isa 12:3) I smile and I experience Psalm 116:7 “Return to your rest, my soul, for the LORD has been good to you.”